To say almighty landline may be an exaggeration. But a phone that’s physically plugged into a wall outlet is not a twee relic, either. Its position as the most trustworthy device for communicating in a “one-shot-at-it” professional situation goes unchallenged.
Yes, you read that right.
A clear, crisp dialogue unwarped by a lousy connection is essential for a phone screen, a return call to a prospect, and even an unknown inquirer.
Even if it means waiting a few hours to reach a landline, do it.
The landline is an appliance (let’s call it what it really is) that’s the best channel for reproducing your clear, crisp voice laden with excitement.
I acknowledge that you will not see the words disrupt and landline used in the same sentence elsewhere on the web, except right here. I raise my hand for being guilty, or even nostalgic, for the days when one’s focus could be uninterrupted by the ring of a cell phone. But this is not coloring my advice.
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that there is a correct (and well-justified) use for a landline.
Some think that immediate response is most important. No, clarity is!
“Can you hear me?” – in all its garbled ways
Last week I was in Las Vegas to give a presentation to women in the electronic payments industry. As I was preparing my thoughts in the privacy of my suite, I received a call (on my cell) from a recruiter. I heard the words “I can’t hear you” three times before one of us decided to call the other back. The cell connection was awful. Moving to another part of the room only exacerbated the tension.
If, in light of this warning, you’re hesitant to do the Wait ‘Till You Get To A Landline step, I’ll assume it’s because you’re either a Superhero (with unlimited powers) or a fan of self-deprivation. Everyone else, please meet me at the next paragraph.
The danger of using a cell phone (rather than a landline) for business talk
There is an amazing onslaught of cool new ways to use your cell phone. For example, this afternoon I came across an exciting software platform that facilitates mobile commerce with loyalty programs, gift and comp cards, and more. I wish my neighborhood joints offered such services!
Yet, while you may be getting ever more habituated to using your mobile phone for payment, what you shouldn’t be doing is using it exclusively for phone talk. It may be quaint to hold a landline receiver with the dimensions of a young teen’s shoe, but you do need to recognize how to communicate effectively.
Renee Marks Cohen illustrates this maxim. “I recommended a consultant to someone, by calling the consultant on his cell phone and speaking to him. But, he used his cell soon after in transit to call the person who would have hired him, and the call broke up. The possible client told me afterward it was a bad experience. She intentionally didn’t pursue more information from the consultant.”
Select any of your business phone conversations, and ask yourself if the quality of the interaction is crucial. Wouldn’t it be better to wait to get to a landline?
- Use your landline to communicate with relatively unknown persons
- Use the power of positive impressions the first time around, and wait to get to a landline to return an incoming call that catches you at an inopportune moment
- Do not schedule any presentation, negotiation, or something similarly significant on a cell phone. Ever.
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons 2.0, drewleavy.
Want to share your own phone call saga? Let’s “hear” from ya below!
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