Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:
Rules of telephone courtesy for people who want my help:
Do not leave me a voice mail, throw the handset back on the cradle and dash out of your office. When I call you back 30 seconds later, I don’t want to hear that you’ve just stepped out. You’ve wasted my time responding to a call that you’re not available to take. Wait a decent interval – five minutes or so – in case I reply immediately. Yes, that means thinking ahead a bit: do not leave voice mails while you’re holding your pants to avoid wetting them; go to the can now and call me when you’re done.
Do not call me on the cell phone with your window down, the radio up, right before the tunnel, or when you’re on gravel roads at your lake place where the signal is iffy. Inaudible and dropped calls waste my time.
Do not call me to discuss a file without having the file number in front of you. When I have to wait on hold while you paw through the mess on your desk looking for basic information, it wastes my time. And no, I won’t answer “just a general question” because I’ve been down that road before so I know the facts you recite are never what the facts turn out to be, but you’ll still blame me when general advice doesn’t solve your specific problem.
Do not leave a long message rambling on until you panic that your time is running out, then rattle off your number so fast I can’t make out the words.
When I call you back, do not answer the phone using the speaker phone setting. Yes, it’s easier for you to shout while you lean back in the chair instead of hanging onto the handset and talking into the mouthpiece, but it’s harder for me to make out your words with the cacophony of paper rustling and chair squeaking and echo distortion.
I’m sure there are more of them, but those are the ones that have come up this morning. So far.
Don’t talk with your mouth full. Ever.