The Practice of Great Messages – and holiday pics

Here’s a tweet that I love, sent out by @isl – isl web marketing and development . (I had the pleasure this past week of spending time with this very enthusiastic and energetic team through my work with The Lunch Pack ):

We had @thephonelady in to bring us up to speed on phone etiquette. There’s more to it than just talking into the right end folks!

What a lovely, simple statement of what I know to be true – there are skills involved in phonework  like there are with written communication and face-to-face presentations. Too often we ignore this truth, allowing our customers and potential customers to receive less than our best when we pick up the phone.

Follow up/leaving messages is one area where we all need improvement. It is time to stop taking it personally when someone doesn’t return our calls; time to cease adding up the number of messages we’ve left, the number of days since “they” called us. Instead, we can make it part of our professional image to always take responsibility for great communication – regardless of the number of messages or the length of follow up involved.

At the core of making this happen is understanding that everyone is overwhelmed. All of us are living with endless lists and deadlines and obligations. Some of us have multiple meetings each day, spend time traveling, have dozens of decisions to make to keep projects moving forward. And that’s just at work. There’s also spending more time with our families, which often include both children and parents, and having some necessary rejuvenation time for ourselves.

So … when someone doesn’t return your call, be they an existing or potential customer, it isn’t about you. It’s about their very busy, hectic life. When you take their lack of response personally, you create a roadblock, a detour if you will, to good communication. You actually begin to create an attitude – a defensiveness – that can undermine the support and empathy you value and cultivate in other aspects of your business.

In the coming weeks, I encourage all of us to practice leaving messages without thinking about who’s turn it is, or how many messages we’ve left. Let’s practice leaving great messages that speak of our commitment to great customer relationships – and let me know the impact this has on your phonework!

Now, on a completely different note … as many of you know, I was priviledged to spend most of the week of May 6 in Paris. I went with my friend Vicki Walsh. For me, she is the best of traveling companions – we walked all day, everyday and took in every possible sight and sound that time allowed. In fact, during our one day in London, we over did it a wee bit – walking for close to seven hours – and suffering a few stiff and sore joints the next day!

Once in Paris, we met up with my dear friend, Mary Savage. Mary was my employer in Toronto in my early twenties and I speak of her often in my workshops because she is my mentor in many things – persistence, life-long learning, loyalty and friendship. We celebrated her soon-to- be 70th birthday by enjoying the city together, sharing great conversations and fabulous food.

I do realize that holiday photos are really only thrilling to those that were on holiday, so I won’t bore you with the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, etc, but here’s few pictures I think you might enjoy and …  

One Last Thought:

“We must do that which we think we cannot.” Eleanor Roosevelt

The Phone Lady couldn't resist trying to make a call!


Vicki and I - we've left our backpacks at the train station and made our way up the hill to Sacre Coeur.
In front of Sacre Coeur there are these wonderful mimes. I was enchanted!



Yup ... still enchanted!
Mary and I with Notre Dame in the background. The weather in Paris was perfect for exploring.
And I couldn't resist playing with this lovely orange phone! Good thing my backpack didn't include much room for shopping.


As you can tell from the grins - it was a fabulous adventure!

0 thoughts on “The Practice of Great Messages – and holiday pics”

  1. Another great post Mary Jane. Your simple message of persistence… and the totally logical rationale continue to help me have the proper posture on the phone. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.


  2. Thanks for the great reminder that “it really isn’t about me!”, Mary Jane.

    And I have to agree with Jay, that orange phone was begging to be yours – and I love the pic of you in the phone booth!! Hey, that would be a great prop for your workshops! 🙂


Leave a comment

What's The Phone Lady doing?


  • Remote learning experiences + one-on-one coaching for women entrepreneurs (More info about this three-year program here.)
  • Team and individual coaching with a national moving company to refine their sales process
  • Remote half-day training for provincial tourism representatives
  • Remote seven-part sales training program for US-based SaaS
  • Remote webinar on accounts receivable communication for industrial-services company
  • Remote webinar on validation to college students in entrepreneur program
  • In-person workshop on job search skills for women in the trades
  • Remote half-day webinar on written correspondence to customers

Do you or your team want to improve your communication skills? Do you have a communication question or challenge you'd like to discuss? This quick-to-fill-out form is easy to use and you'll hear from Mary Jane very soon.