When you’re sitting in a crowded coffee shop enjoying your warm vanilla latte, you might notice how silent it is despite the large crowd. Then you’ll look around and you’ll see everyone either on their phones or computers. The truth is we live in a digital age and while people might not be talking out loud, there are several ways they are communicating. One person might be texting their significant other, another might be Snapchatting a picture of their latte to a friend, or a person might be emailing their boss they’ll be late.
Millennials and Generation Z have become so accustomed to communicating digitally that picking up a phone and having an actual conversation has become more daunting than ever before.
As someone who makes phone calls to community leaders and others on a daily basis, I’m here to tell you the fear of being “awkward” and the vulnerability you feel the moment you hear the ringing, and someone actually answer the phone is perfectly normal. To be honest, it’s taken me several months to feel confident when making phone calls to community leaders especially when I know I could say the same thing in an email. However, a phone conversation goes further and helps get results.
Here are three tips on how you can effectively connect with community members, leaders, and elected officials on the phone.
Your tone matters. Emotions can be picked up quickly on the phone so you should handle any conversation like it’s face to face. For instance, if you’re excited about an issue, your excitement should translate into the conversation. You should try smiling when you talk, because you’re smile will help with your tone.
You should also focus on responding in a courteous and friendly manner. Regardless of your personal views and opinions. One of your focuses in the conversation is to garner mutual respect with the other person. Respond with questions and engage with the person so they know you truly value their opinion.
2. Capture the Flow
Create a script you feel comfortable straying away from. This script should be used as a guide allowing you to run through your key points, gather your thoughts, and be flexible enough for you to build the conversation from.
Remember, you’re only human and it’s okay if you stumble on your words. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up in trying to sound perfect, you’re not a robot.
3. Follow up
You should always follow up with the person after your call. This can be in the form of a quick email which includes more information about your issue, inviting the other person to coffee, and/or to agreeing to call them again soon.
In the end, these tips are only made successful when you remember to be courteous and grateful for someone’s time. At the end of the call, the person should feel confident in your abilities and trustworthy of your intentions. If you keep all of this in mind, you’re sure to be a success!