Six Rules to Maximize Your Cell Phone
Cell phones are a great tool for boosting personal productivity – keeping you in touch with customers, the office, and your family. Effective use of your cell phone will enhance your business, but poor habits can quickly become a trap. Follow these six basic rules and you’ll enjoy the advantages of enhanced technology while avoiding the pitfalls:
Rule # 1: Control your calls
Don’t be compulsive and answer every call, anywhere, anytime. Keep the phone turned off during family time and non-business hours to avoid losing your personal balance. Use voice mail, and return calls promptly at an appropriate time.
Rule # 2: Focus on your face-to-face customers
When you’re with customers or colleagues, give them your undivided attention. Avoid answering incoming calls. Don’t compromise a great sales presentation or other business interaction by being a slave to your cell phone. Remember, the person you are with is your most important customer at that moment
Rule # 3: Stay in business meetings
Never allow a call to interrupt a meeting. If the meeting is important enough to have on the schedule, it’s important to keep every participant focused on the meeting, not the next phone call. Interruptions can disrupt the flow of an otherwise productive meeting, wasting time and causing everyone to lose their focus.
Rule # 4: Control your costs – and be considerate
Even the best calling plans cost money – and time. Be a good steward of your time, and the time of others, by keeping your calls on target. Don’t make calls just because you have “free minutes” or free time. If there’s little to discuss, don’t make the call. What might be free time for you could undermine the productivity of the person receiving the call.Avoid useless chatter.
Rule # 5: Do one thing at a time
Don’t engage in complex conversations while driving, or while doing anything else. Even if you can keep your car on the road, you can’t give your customer or colleague your full attention and offer your best perspective if you are doing two things at once. I once drove past my freeway exit while engaged in a complicated conversation. Having to backtrack taught me to limit the length and complexity of my calls while driving. Exercise self-control with your cell phone – and keep your mind on the road.
Rule # 6: Keep your calls private
When you talk on your cell phone in a public place, everyone within earshot is a potential eavesdropper. Worse yet, some cell phone users believe they need to shout to be heard. At best, talking loudly in restaurants, movie theaters, and other public places is rude, but it can also cost you money. I heard of a salesman once who was discussing a key customer bid by phone at a restaurant, while unbeknownst to him, a competitor was seated at the next table, overhearing his entire pricing strategy. If you must take a call in a public place, excuse yourself and move to a private location.