Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Leave A Message At The Tone

I was taught telephone etiquette at a young age. My grandfather was a doctor whose patients would often call the house phone if they needed to reach him quickly.  I was taught to answer the phone appropriately, beginning with a salutation, followed by a "may I help you?", and ending with reading the message back to the caller, having written down everything along with the date and time.  It was clear there was no messing around with this task - it was important and it was to be treated as such.

Fast forward to a long career as an administrative assistant. I still take messages the same way, and have been complimented on my phone "voice" by many... because apparently my manners are rare nowadays.  So based on my history, you might think I've been able to instill the same manners in my children.

Excuse me while I pee myself laughing.

My kids can't get the hang of it. Not sure if it's because they're boys or their generation can only text or tweet one another, but they can't carry on a phone conversation, let alone take a message. So why is this a problem?  Because they keep ANSWERING the phone. How do I know this? Because I listen to the half-messages on the answering machine, the ones left when someone starts to talk and then they answer the phone. Do they tell me that someone called? Nooo..... Do they tell me what the caller wanted? Nooo.... Do they just forget and assume the caller will know that they're boys and can't be trusted to give me a message so the caller will try again? Noooo....

New house rule: no one answers the phone but Mom.

How do you deal with the other people in your house answering the phone? Do they give you your messages in a timely fashion? Were you able to instill good phone manners? If you did, when can my kids visit so you can teach them?

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