I used to think that it was because I’m a writer that I preferred to do things over email than over the phone.
Then I used to think that this was my preference because I’m a bit anti-social and get irked at the notion of having to engage in a conversation with someone when I have no idea who they are or what they want.
These days, however, although both of those things remain incredibly true, I’ve realised that the real reason I don’t want to pick up the phone to unsolicited callers at any point in my day is because it gets in the way of how I want to run my business – and having control over shit like this is one of the many reasons of why I set up on my own in the first place.
This is NOT me saying that I categorically will not speak to people over the phone, by the way – I will and I do! Once a client is working with me, we may need to have a quick call or catch-up every now and then for whatever reason – and I enjoy it – but even then, those lovely folk who hire me know that the best way of getting things clear and sorted in a timely and accountable manner that works for both of us, is to throw it out there in an email.
If you call me, I will not only forget or possibly misinterpret the details of said phone call, but I’ll also more than likely forget that the phonecall even happened in the first place. Send me an email – get it off your desk and onto mine, and then I can deal with whatever you need in the most efficient way for both of us. It’s just good business sense.
So no, unless it’s my parents or my child’s nursery calling me, I don’t answer the phone to any calls whilst I’m working (or whilst I’m doing a number of other things, for that matter).
Funny story – I made that exact same claim in an interview on my husband’s Small Business Experts online programme a short while ago when he’d asked me what my number one timesaving habit was, and you can imagine the onscreen marital breakdown that ensued as a result of me not including him in that list.
Unless you’ve booked and paid for one of my Content Calls, I’m not here in an advisory ‘give me a call’ capacity. But, I AM right here waiting for any clients who want to get stuck straight in and work with me as their copywriter, editor or trainer. It even says that on my website and all of my social media profiles, and even in the odd blog before this one.
I’m not here as ‘one of several’ copywriters you’re speaking to, and I’m not here for you to ‘sound things out’ so that you can get a bit of free advice before admitting that you don’t actually know what you’re looking for. Figure out what you want and who you need, and then if you’re convinced from having looked at my stuff that it’s me who can tick your boxes, send me an email – and let’s get writing!
Still very much planted in the “But I really think we should have an initial call” camp? That’s fine, but here are 8 reasons why a) I’m going to tell you to send me an initial email instead, and b) why I’m not going to pick up the phone to you should you call on the off-chance of ‘grabbing me for 5 minutes’.
- It’s NEVER 5 minutes. Next.
- If you call me on a day when I’m not working, I’m not working.
- If you call me on a day when I’m working in my business, then I’m likely working on a project for another client, whereby they have already paid for, trusted me with, and are therefore entitled to my full time and attention. Quick clarification – if THEY call, I’ll answer it. You? Send me an email.
- If you call me on a day when I’m working on my business, then I’m either working through a list of all the things that are going to help me in my business development, or catching up on a load of admin. Getting back to phonecalls will be a big part of said admin if you can be patient, but a) it’s going to be an email that you get in response, and b) if you didn’t leave a message, it’s not even going to be an email.
- Whilst I’m on that point, please don’t get shitty with me about any of this. I’m not going to ring a number back that I don’t recognise, no matter how many times you called. We live in a world of spam and cold-calling – and where most people send a fucking email – so I’m putting you in that spam bracket if you leave no message. Please know that if you go on to send me an email (which I will ALWAYS get back to), please don’t passive-aggressively alert me to the fact that you rang countless times but I never responded. I know I didn’t – I don’t know who you are/ what you want/ why you haven’t already sensed the tone!
- There are so many people I’d love to speak to on the phone. I’d even include my mother on that list, and I know for a fact that she’d spend the entire call questioning my (admittedly questionable) life choices. Friends I’ve not caught up with in ages, life admin professionals I really need to speak to in relation to stuff that keeps me safe, healthy and legal, and family members who’d probably appreciate a check-in… I want to speak to them all, but I have to have a system. I’m sorry that twenty minutes of a stranger telling my their life story without actually telling me how I can help them just doesn’t make the cut.
- Once I get going on a piece of work, I’ll fly. I don’t even eat meals sometimes because I’m just in the zone (or wherever) and want to commit to getting something done. Picking up the phone gets in the way of that. It’s a massive productivity staller. Massive.
- Even if a phonecall would indeed lead to something, we’re going to have to follow it up with an email anyway so that we’re clear on what’s happening and so that we’ve got things in writing, so why are we bothering with the middle layer of this particularly dense communication trifle? Sorry, this is what happens when I don’t eat, as per point 7.
I admit, this blog will probably make me about as popular as the ‘Coffee’ one did, but I actually feel much more strongly about the phone thing, because whilst someone can invite me for coffee or to an event and I can legitimately refuse (this is the one thing I am LOVING lockdown for, by the way), there are some people who think that just because they called you (even though you have no idea who they are), you have to ring them back.
I can’t agree with that. It’s not impolite, though, it’s just a commitment to me not wasting my time or yours. I may be an anti-social cow, but I’m not a time-waster.
Want to discuss this blog – or anything else – with me? Send me an email.
First published on https://agoodwriteup.com/