Here’s question that arrived this week: I recently phoned a Halifax real estate agent on a listing of his I had seen while driving in a neighbourhood I’ve had an interest in for awhile. I was shocked at how rude and uninterested he was in my phone call. Admittedly the house I was calling on had a conditional offer on it, but shouldn’t he have at least been polite? I had to force my name and phone number on him to call me if the conditional offer fell through. Obviously, he won’t be calling me – and equally obviously, I won’t be referring his name to anyone – quite the opposite. So what is it that causes people to be so rude on the phone? This is an awful experience when it happens – and while there’s no doubt it was thoughtless and foolish of the real estate agent, it is important to realize that this rude response to an incoming phone call is something we have all done. The reason is that phone calls are interruptions. Sometimes they catch us while we are talking with someone else, driving the car or even having a lovely meal. Before you answer your ringing phone take a moment to check your mood. Remember, you want to answer the phone with the same enthusiasm and warmth you would extend if the person was standing right in front of you. Answer between the second and third ring to give yourself a moment – and put a smile on our face. If you know you won’t muster your most professional “how can I be of service” voice when the phone rings, then don’t answer. Better to let it go to voicemail than to answer it and lose a potential client forever.