Part 3: Adaptations

Telephone Calls

Letters and Memos
Collaborative Documents
Oral Presentations
Telephone Calls



Most professionals use the telephone a lot, often an hour or more a day. Few think much about it. They get their work done, but most could make better, more efficient use of the phone with a little thought about what, exactly, they want to accomplish in their calls.




Before you make a working telephone call, take a few moments -- 10-15 seconds -- to clear your mind, distancing yourself slightly from what you were doing. Ask yourself why you are calling this person. Do they have the information you want or are you asking for a referral? Can they make the decision you want or will they have to get back to you? How are they likely to react to your request or statement? You may decide to call someone else.

Clarify for yourself exactly what you want to accomplish in the call. Focus on the main point you want to make or the main thing you want to happen. What other topics have to be discussed to accomplish your main goal? Sketch your thinking as a small Tree, main point at the top and the other topics below. Order them left to right in the order you want to talk about them.

When you place the call, take a moment to give the person a context for the call: who you are (if he/she doesn't know you well), who referred you, the event that prompted your call.

Then give your listener a brief overview of your purpose: the main thing you want to accomplish in the call and the things you need to talk about to make that happen. This lets the person know you want to get down to business. It alerts him or her to what the call is all about. And it makes clear the issues you want to discuss.

After you conclude your business, exchange pleasantries, if you wish, but then say goodbye and hang-up.

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