In the age of the text, email, and social channel messaging, an actual spoken conversation can be refreshingly productive. Do yourself a favor and instead of sending that next message, pick up the phone and chat with the person with whom you’re doing business. But as we may be a little out of practice, please keep a few things in mind:
1. Calls on speaker phone: state upfront who is in the room.
Don’t set up your co-worker, client, supplier, or partner for a potentially embarrassing situation. If their success isn’t your success, then why are you in business together?
2. Speaker phones on iPhones: forget it.
The iPhone is a fantastic device. But let’s face it – the telephone part sounds horrible. Use a landline or have each person call in to a conference call number. If you’re on the run and have to conference in from a noisy Starbucks or airport, invest in a headset with microphone.
3. Use time zone labels.
Don’t just say “10” when setting up the time to call. 10 what? 10 eastern? 10 pacific? 10 pounds? 10 monkeys?
4. Translate time zone for your client or partner.
If your client is in Mountain Time, translate your meeting time to Mountain Time. A little thoughtfulness can lead to clearer communication.
5. EST versus EDT
Nothing says I don’t care about details like scheduling a call or meeting time in EST or CST when we’re on actually on EDT or CDT. I suspect that about one third of the business world thinks EST is a general abbreviation for EaSTern time. It’s not.
The grammar police have “their there and they’re.” Time cops have this.
Best practice: just drop the S or D altogether. ET, CT, MT, and PT are fine.