Shortening Long Phone Calls

by Debra Wyatt
(last updated November 5, 2020)

I have noticed that both at home and work a lot of time is wasted by phone calls. Not only are they disruptive to begin with, and take time away from what I was doing I find that it is sometimes hard to get back into the work that I was doing before the phone call. Private phone calls at work can also be disturbing to co-workers that are sitting around you. You try hard not to overhear what other conversations are, but they seem to be talking so loud that you can't avoid it. You may not be able to do anything about their behavior but by example you can show them ways to handle time being spent on private phone calls.

When it comes to private phone calls they can create quite a disturbance with staying organized either at home or at the office. Some of those phone calls that really should take two minutes end up taking 15 or 20 minutes of your time. Next thing you know, you are frustrated and behind schedule and then it's hard to get back into doing your work.

There are three basic steps that help in eliminating wasting time with long phone calls:

  1. Warn them about your time limit.
  2. Use a timer
  3. Prepare for the call ahead of time

When I receive a phone call I begin with step one and tell the person that I am talking to that I have a time schedule that I really need to keep to. That unfortunately that means that I will have to limit my time with the phone call, but that I can give them five minutes to talk right then. When the time is up I am polite and I thank them for the phone call and tell them that I must hang up the phone now because my time is over. I simply say good bye and hang up.

The second step is to use some sort of timer. This timer could be anything from an egg timer to using the alarm on your cell phone. I like using the alarm on my cell phone. For one reason I know that the person on the other can hear the alarm go off. It seems that a lot of time is wasted because I have gotten so involved with the conversation that I lose track of time and that I have lost 15 or 20 minutes without even realizing that the time has past. When the timer goes off politely end the conversation. At work a private phone of 5 minutes is plenty of time to say what needs to be said in public.

I have found that the third step is more for when I am placing the phone call. I simply write out some of the things that I want to cover in the phone call. I keep the list close by and when I am finished with that item I simply just mark it off. When the list is finished I politely end the phone call.

I noticed that just by following these three basic steps I can keep my time on my phone calls down to a manageable time.

Author Bio

Debra Wyatt

Deb has a communications degree and applies her talents to her position as Marketing Specialist at Sharon Parq Associates. In her spare time she spends time with her children and grandchildren and devotes time to her church. ...

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