Office Etiquette Rule Number 14: Stop Using Your Speaker Phone

Office Etiquette Rule Number 14: Stop Using Your Speaker Phone
Why is it that so many people at work are using their speakerphones when talking to other people? It seems like the phenomenon has become a rage, except the rage should have been over twenty years ago when people received desk phones with speakers built in. And to call the speakerphone a phenomenon is ridiculous as the speakerphone seems to be a little archaic.

So why is it people can't pick up the handset (that's what it's called you know) and place the phone against their ear? I think I know why . . .

Texting While Driving Become Texting While Working when in the Office
We are obsessed with doing two or three things at once. Are we bored with what others are saying? Or is it we can't stand the idea of sitting still while someone else is talking?

Do you think I am wrong about texting while working? Then the next time you have a conference call in a room full of people who have gathered together for the camaraderie, look around and see how many people have their iPhone or Android out and looking at emails, texts, and just surfing eBay. You may want to check yourself first, oh by the way.

Who's the Client?
Certainly you are having a call with someone important, or else why take the call? This person or group of people could be (and probably are to some extent) your customer. These so-called "customers" are the people you support. These are the people that allow you to keep your smartphone device and not go into debt.  In other words, these are the people who support your and your family's existence. 

Your attention or lack there of, or boredom is not of importance to anyone. It does show a lack of courtesy by not paying attention to the call. And it certainly embarrassing to everyone when you are called out for a question and you were not paying attention. Even in spite of your attempt to hide the fact by mumbling something after searching your brain for the smallest crumb of information of what the question was. 

Pay Attention or Pay Dearly
It's a scientific fact that we cannot do two things at the same time. And some of us barely can do one thing at a time. You lack of attention and your bragging about it doesn't really make sense. But because we have been trained and conditioned to display false bravado (hey look at me, I am working until 7PM tonight, skipped lunch, and I had eight conference calls today) is probably a chief culprit. 

Out minds can only think one-thing-at-a-time. Because our minds process information faster than people can talk, we become trained to do something else. We say "got it" in our minds, but we can't digest the context of the conversation. So we may not miss the words, but we miss the meaning and symbolism that the words don't always express.

Never get on a call and never go down the hallway without a pen and notebook. Note that I did not say paper. I said notebook. Write the date at the top of page, the topic of the conversation, who is attending, write out the agenda, and write out questions or points you want to make regarding the agenda. Do this before the meeting! BUT, if you have to, that is you are unprepared, you should at least do this at the start of the meeting.

In that notebook, take notes, when you are talking to someone on the phone. Catch the nuances. Write down a question in the margin to be asked later if the person doesn't address it. Jot down bullets around the causes, the effects, who was impacted, when it occurred and when it will be addressed. But don't type your conversation as the client or the other person is talking. People hear the click click click of the keyboard.

What writing does, it forces you to pay attention, to think. When you write, you are focusing your mind to stay focused on the conversation. The notes become a forcing mechanism to listen and capture the key ideas, messages, and actions. From here, this little exercise, you become a better attention payer. 

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