30 October 2013

Horror Phone Calls and how to avoid them

Horror Phone Calls and how to avoid them

I am certain beyond any reasonable cause for doubt, that small children have some kind of inbuilt homing beacon that attracts them to central places where they can recreate the soundtracks of horror films. How they get the memo I'll never know. Some kind of secret code in the Playschool intro? Maybe there's more to the round window decision then I ever understood.

Regardless of where this phenomenal mass organisation of screaming banshees occurs, I seem to always receive the same invitation. Despite never sending an RSVP.

Now, I'm all for no blood no foul. And believe me, my children have thrown some epic hissy fits in public that have led me to enquire about professional exorcists.

But here's the problem. Every time I'm trapped at the epicentre of the banshee convention my phone rings with 'the most important call ever'.

Luckily I work with some pretty understanding candidates and clients who take the horror themed background noises in their stride. Some even participate and offer suggestions on how I may perform an exorcism on mass (Thanks for that one Chris. Didn't work but it was worth a shot)

Here's the real problem. I can't think properly when I'm in the middle of the Banshee pit.

Some of the strangest, most valuable for blackmail conversations I have ever had have been when I was distracted by background noise. Some rash decisions I've made in the past have been the result of "Yeah, okay that sounds fine." When really I'm wondering how a child can scale a solid glass fence.

So, now to save you from also buying an annual subscription to knitting for kittens, here's my hard earned wisdom.

  1. If you don't have a quiet place, you can't do your best work. Period. End of story.
  2. As much as I'll deny this even though you have it in writing - You need to set firm times for important calls and stick to them. (I'm more of a I'll just do it now person)
  3. If you set a time for a job interview, prepare to be early and allow for the fact that they may run late. Never commit to being anywhere within half an hour after you expect and interview to end. Cutting it short may kill your chances of securing the role.
  4. "Is there a better number for me to give you a call on?" If reception or technology may be an issue, think about a backup plan and have it at your disposal. As much as I would like to promise you that a potential employer will reschedule or try again, it doesn't always happen.
  5. Preparation, preparation, preparation. Whether you're calling the Prime Minister or calling your Mum, knowing what you hope to communicate is critical. If you have a lot of information to cover, try writing dot points and ticking them off once they're covered.

Take it from someone who spends most of my life on the phone. Taking the time to prepare for a phone call can be the difference between a productive conversation and a rambling mess that you remember through the bottom of a pint.

Are you ready to make the call?