Executive Career Advice

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Don’t lose out on a job because you thought it was mum calling again

The very first contact that we often have with another person on a business or employment matter is through means of the telephone. We might be calling to set up a time for an interview or calling to confirm an appointment. This initial opportunity to impress is just as important as when you walk through the door on the day of an interview itself. Even if you are talking to a PA to put details in a diary, they might be impressed enough with how you sound that they pass this on to your future interviewer.

For this reason, it is advisable that you approach each call you make and receive in a friendly, professional and helpful manner. You never know whether your prospective employer might just call you back to check some details too. In case this happens, why not put a clear note on your phone that reminds you of how to conduct yourself for every call?

  • Professional
  • Helpful
  • Friendly

The danger is that you might get so busy with other things happening in your day that you forget for a moment. You might be expecting a call from your partner and pick up the phone and start the conversation in your usual intimate manner:

*Ring ring*

You: “Smith Services… ”

Caller: “Is this Mr Smith?”

You: “Yes… how may I help you?”

Caller: “We would like to give you a free quote on SEO service…”

You: “Sorry… I’m a little busy right now…”


*Ring ring*

You: “Smith Services… how may I help you?”

Caller: “It’s Mum…”

You: “Sorry Mum… I cannot talk now.”


*Ring ring*

You: “Smith Services… how may…”

Caller: “Sorry its Mum again… my front door key won’t work…”

You: (frustrated) “Mum… I’ll be round later”

Seconds later…

*Ring ring*

You: “What now Mum?”

Caller: “Hello, this is John Johnson… can I speak to Mr Smith please about his interview details?”

This mistake is so easily made when out mind is on other things. The lesson is for the telephone to always be answered as if it was the most important call in your life. Don’t lose out on a job because you thought it was mum calling again.

You might be wondering, if there is a way to maintain steady focus throughout the day? How do you keep cool under so many demands? Informed by 10 years of Harvard research and field-tested by more than 6,000 clients and trainees, Sharon Melnick, Ph.D., a business psychologist and author of Success Under Stress offers 12 ways to eliminate stress at work

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