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)
4 thoughts on “What Do Cakes and Phone Calls Have in Common?”
So glad to find out that you love baking! Happy to share pie recipes! And yes, practice is the key to baking and telephoning, and not at the same time.
Lovely, Peggy. And I would LOVE to bake and talk on the phone at the same time, but you are right. Doesn’t work.
Baking is my favourite go to place when I need to relax or when I want to show someone I care about them.
Making a good pie crust is the secret for a great pie. It is simple and easy. Buy a box of Crisco shortening. When you are ready to make your pie, start singing or set some good rock and roll, some good C&W or my favourite, Leonard Cohen and sing along. Set up your space, and get out a rolling pin or a rounded rum or wine bottle. Using a deep bowl, put in about 3/4 of a cup of shortening and mix it up using your fingers only. Then get about 2 cups of flour and start sprinkling it over the shortening. After you have used about 1/2cup, use your fingers to mix the flour into the shortening. It will be sticky. Sprinkle more flour and then mix until the dough starts to easily go into a ball and is no longer sticky. Don’t put the flour in all at once. Usually this is all you need to do before you start to roll out the pastry. However, if you are having trouble making the ball, take your bowl to the sink, wet your fingers with cold water and shake them over the pastry. Don’t use much water or your pastry will be tough. When you are ready to roll out the dough, have your pie pans close by. Sprinkle some flour on the area where you are working. Put the dough in the middle of the flour. Sprinkle some flour on the wine bottle. Start to roll out the pastry. I am not fancy about this. Once I have a nice thin piece of pastry, I put it in the pie pan and get some part of it up over the edges so you can crimp it down with your fingers when you are all finished. Then I keep rolling out pieces and putting them in the pan until the entire pan is covered in crust. Then you can take your fingers and gently push the edges together so there is no serious overlapping or holes. Voila…a delicious pie crust that you can bake and either fill with say a key lime filling, coconut cream, etc. or add apples, some sugar and cinnamon and do the same procedure to make the top crust. We are not looking for perfection here…just a delicious crust. If you are making something like an apple pie, once the top crust is smooth, dip your fingers in some milk and shake them over the top of the pie. Then sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of sugar over the entire top. Crimp around the edges and don’t make this too thick. Then make about a 2 inch cross in the middle of the pie with a knife. This will allow the pie to breathe as it bakes. Pop in the oven according to the directions for your recipe. When you are finished this, you can stop singing!!!!
My dear mother’s recipe that has never been written down and that always included singing. Enjoy
My goodness, Penny, thank you so much for sharing your mother’s pastry recipe with us – appropriate for Mother’s Day too! And I absolutely love that the recipe always includes singing!