communication skills

I Don’t Answer my Phone

If you know me or have done business with me, you may have learned that I do not answer my phone. Unless it’s from a family member, it’s probably not going to get answered. The funny thing is, I am always near my phone, and most of the time I am looking at it. I simply don’t have the time to tap the little button that would connect our call.

You can’t do business without a landline phone…

Years ago, my father would have said something like the above. It’s probably due to his years of business consultancy combined with constant traveling. Being the daughter of a mobile businessman helped me learn the power of constant communication very early on. He also taught me a little bit about great customer service, the biggest lesson being:

If customers cannot reach you, they won’t do business with you.

Well, my father is from a different generation, because I have not had a landline phone since 2001, yet I have been a self-employed professional for nearly 10 years without one. It hardly seems like a business requirement anymore – especially if you are a solo –entrepreneur. Technology has created new (and cheaper) ways of communicating across distances.

Cell Phones Are Not For Talking

My reluctance to answer the phone skyrocketed this year when I purchased my first smartphone. Yes, I said first. This is because I find the vast possibilities of a smartphone to be distracting from phone calls. I mean, why would I answer the phone, when I could be skype chatting or tweeting? It just doesn’t make much sense.

That is why I am convinced cell phones are no longer designed for phone calls. If they were, they’d have a longer battery life, be more comfortable to hold, and wouldn’t include YouTube. I can’t possibly be the only independent professional to feel this way…

Maybe I should just send an email…

The last ten years, the Internet has proven that it can solve nearly any problem- including the fact that I never have time to answer my phone. First there was Netmeeting. It came installed on my Windows 95 computer but strangely disappeared in Vista. Then there was the handy dandy Magic Jack, which I cautiously purchased from Radio Shack only to lose interest after a few weeks.

By the time most of the world had adopted Skype, I had already used and disposed of a Google Voice number, forgotten the password of numerous GoToMeeting credentials, and pretty much loss hope in terms of what the Internet could offer for voice communications.

A Beacon of Hope?

The great thing about technology is that is always evolving, and it appears voice over internet protocol calls (VoIP) has now reached a point of being worth my consideration again. I have been fortunate to meet two Silicon Valley entrepreneurs (yes, Silicon Valley like the genius’s behind Facebook and that ridiculously humorous HBO show) that understand the problems I am facing.

They have created technology that helps busy professionals like me continue to not answer their phones while still making money.

In yo’ face, Dad!

Their company, Smith.ai, combines real receptionists with the best in technology to create a marketing and customer service solution that does not involve me answering the phone. Considering the fact that I plan to stay in business for a while, this is a total win.

 

The Importance of Confidence

A few weeks ago I responded to an ad looking for bloggers to review an online confidence course.  At first I was hesitant, I mean, what does confidence have to do with freelance writing? But before I could even finalize my thought, I answered my own question. Confidence has everything to do with freelance writing! As a matter of fact, confidence should be a requirement for freelancing.

For that reason, I decided to review the course and share my review on this blog. It is my firm belief that confidence will not only help you in your personal life, but also in your professional life. When you learn to approach your freelance business with confidence, you can command better rates, and likely, larger amounts of clients. If you aren’t already working on your confidence, I encourage giving this class a try.

Instant Confidence: A 45 minute confidence course

Let me begin by explaining that the instant confidence course will not give you confidence. It’s a 45-minute course for goodness sakes! What it does promise is the tools and knowledge for giving the appearance of confidence.  We could call it fake-it-till-you-make-it 101.

It is set up in short modules with quizzes after each one to make sure you understood the last section. For the most part, the course is simple- 30-50 words of text per slide with attractive attention-grabbing photos, while a  narrator reads it to you. There’s even some interactive exercises on the second half that will engage you while driving in the point. In all, I enjoyed its arrangement, except for having to push next after each screen. Clicking is terribly bothersome for me. The British accent made up for it though.. (I always giggle when I hear the word bum.)

The information in the course is not anything you haven’t heard before … unless perhaps you are not natively a part of Western society. What is valuable about the course is the fact that it is all in one place, logically organized in a 45-minute chunk. I’ve read plenty of self-help books, taken public speaking courses, and consider myself quite the communicator, and I still learned something from the course.  That’s because the beauty isn’t in the ‘what’, it’s in the ‘how’.

The Instant Confidence sells for £19.99 (that’s $31.98 USD), and it is worth it for anyone who wants to improve their communication skills.  They also offer a sample of the course on their website.  For freelance professionals, aside from what it is we sell, confidence in communication skills needs to be on the top of our skillset.

It’s also an obvious win for business owners, entrepreneurs, and sales professionals for which communication skills are directly related to their success.

So try out the course and let me know what you think. I’m curious to find out if anyone enjoyed it as much as I did.

Disclaimer: I received this course in exchange for a  review. I receive no additional compensation for purchases as the result of this post.