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Saving the Best for Last

April 26, 2015
Mary Jane Copps

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Welcome to the third in a series of posts by Leslie Gallagher, owner of Worklocal.jobs, documenting her discovery of the power of phone communication. I’ve been inspired by the joy, excitement and success she’s generated while developing her new skills – and I hope you are too. Enjoy and share! 

When I was growing up, leaving food on your plate was not allowed – no exceptions. Your plate had to be clear before you were excused from the table. I developed a strategy to make sure that I would never be stuck squirming in my seat and pushing peas around with my fork, wishing I could run outside. I called my strategy, “Best for Last”  (or alternatively, “Worst First,” but my mother said that wasn’t polite.)

At first, it took a lot of self-control. I had to make myself eat the least anticipated part of the meal first—the fish or asparagus. Only then could I move to the medium-level desired foods, like salad, and then the remaining foods were my favourite ones—lasagna, mushrooms, soups, or breads. But before long it became a habit, and by getting my least favourite part out of the way early, I set my self up for success to accomplish my goal—even if my goal was only to finish dinner.

I’ve now applied this same strategy to my business phone calls. Although I don’t dread or fear them the way that I used to, it is still challenging for me to make those cold or follow-up calls, and often I imagine it will be the hardest part of my day. So I decided to save the best activities for last—or at least, put the “Worst First” and make phone calls the first thing I do every day. Here’s why this has turned out to be a great decision for me – and will be for you as well:

  1. More people are available to answer their phones first thing in the morning, before their day gets busy with a million other things they need to attend to;
  2. It’s respectful to give people a full day to return your calls;
  3. It shows that you’re serious. You have to be committed to call people at 8 or 9 am, sounding (relatively) alert and intelligent; and
  4. Last (and best!) by 10 am, you already feel accomplished. By doing what most needs to be done first, you can spend the rest of the day patting yourself on the back … and giving your full attention to some of your favourite activities.

Leslie Gallagher is the founder and owner of WorkLocal.jobs, an innovative job board where job seekers apply to positions with recorded Video Interview Messages. Their mission is to keep talent in the region. She can be reached on Twitter @LG_HFX and at leslie@worklocal.jobs.

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Paul Mombourquette says:

    Cool, I like this… will have to try this as I find I postpone making my calls in the afternoon, just to put it off.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Paul

    • The Phone Lady says:

      It is a great way add more enjoyment to your day. Instead of “carrying” the postponement all day, you are “free” by 10 am to focus on other things. Also, it gives your contacts a whole day to reach you and this will increase the number of return calls you receive. Thanks for commenting, Paul. Always appreciated!

  2. Michelle says:

    Agreed MJ, I would be more open and receptive to a call in the morning than I would be in the afternoon. Great tip again!

    • The Phone Lady says:

      Great to get this feedback, Michelle. Calls in the morning seem to work better for everyone. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Eileen Pease says:

    Great story Mary Jane – very motivating.

    • The Phone Lady says:

      Thanks, Eileen. It is always great to know how other people are getting their calls done. It helps us figure out how we can make it work in our own day.

  4. […] Choose a specific time to make calls. Saying you’ll make calls tomorrow morning won’t help you defeat procrastination because you’ll leave it until the last possible minute – 11:59 am – and then tell yourself you’ll aim for tomorrow morning. Choose an actual time (my recommendation is 8:30 am) and block this off in your calendar. Make an appointment with your phone to make necessary calls. […]

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