Last week I baked a cake to celebrate a friend’s 90th birthday. While I was decorating it, I realized that my ability to create a CHOCOLATE PECAN TORTE recipe and my phone skills have something in common, something simple that anyone can do to give themselves both confidence and positive, reliable results on the phone.
What do baking and talking on the phone have in common and what one simple thing can improve everyone’s phone communication?
I fell in love with baking when I was 18. My sister spent hours in our kitchen creating the most delicious pastry-like sandwich cookies filled with pale pink, yellow and green icing. It seemed like magic to me that a combination of flour, butter and sugar could result in something so incredibly delicious. Since then, my kitchens have produced a wealth of cakes, cookies, breads and muffins and this year I hope, finally, to take on pie.
As with phone calls, my first step when I bake is preparation. When I choose a recipe, I consider who I will be serving, as well as the occasion. Nutritious muffins are perfect for any morning meeting, while my Cranberry Almond Biscotti is reserved for honouring the holiday season. And the Chocolate Pecan Torte, which I discovered when researching gluten-free cakes for a friend, is a perfect addition to any celebration.
The second step is clearing my working space, allowing myself to focus only on the baking – or the phone calls. Giving my full attention to the task allows me to respond to what is happening in the moment. Whether it is a batter that is becoming too dry, or a phone conversation that’s too rushed or suddenly awkward, I can adjust immediately to create better results.
Finally, and most importantly, I practice – and practice – and practice. I’m guessing I’ve made the Chocolate Pecan Torte 100 times since first discovering the recipe. I’ve tweaked some of the ingredients to make it a richer cake with a deeper flavour. I can make this cake with confidence and bring it to a birthday party knowing it will be enjoyed by everyone.
This is exactly how we get better at anything, especially phone calls. One phone call a day, or a week, or a month, doesn’t bring you confidence, or hone your skills, or expand your knowledge of how to create great conversations with customers and prospects. Anything we want to do well demands our time, our attention and … repetition.
This was clear to me when I started decorating the birthday cake. I have not put any time or effort into perfecting icing, piping or interesting designs. While my cake looked fine, I know that, with practice, it could look spectacular. The same is true of your phone calls. Spectacular conversations that create loyalty, build relationships and grow revenue are possible … but you have to practice! (click to tweet this)