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How to stop wasting time on the phone

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Email has come out on top in recent years as the ultimate productivity tool when it comes to business communication. Marketing Strategist Dorie Clark points out that the average phone call takes 30 minutes, while an email takes five to 10 minutes to draft. Here, Clark presents her top tips for maintaining productivity when phone conversations are unavoidable.

Schedule time for calls
There are times when you have to face the music and realise that some calls need to be made. For people who hate phone conversations – and many of us do for various reasons – the best way to avoid being distracted by unexpected calls is to ignore them at first and then schedule in time to return them. That can be once or twice a week or once a day depending on the importance of the message.

Try to put off calls
Plenty of people still prefer to chat over the phone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t push back if they want to schedule a call. Drive home the fact that you want to make sure a call is really the most efficient way to communicate, such as asking for more detailed information first. You’ll probably find everything can be settled over email.

Let others know your preferred method of communication
For those who choose to make first contact with you with a message asking for your phone number, simply answer with a professional reply saying you prefer to be contacted by email – unless you feel a phone call is absolutely necessary. You can also personalise your voicemail message by saying the best way to reach you is by email. Doing so could potentially cut down the amount of calls you need to return if most of those who left a voicemail then follow up with an email.

Read the original article from the Harvard Business Review at