Tame The Ringing Telephone

Power Productivity Video Series: Video 1 – Tame The Ringing Telephone


The phone is a necessary work tool.

But you need to ask yourself: “Do I control my use of the telephone or is the telephone controlling me?”

If you answer it honestly, you’ll need to learn how to take control of the plethora of inbound calls that bog you down.

If you want to get off the phone and get some work done, you need to watch this video.

Below are the links to the other videos in the Power Productivity Video Series:

Video 2: Better Scheduling Means Better Work

Video 3: Defeat Email Overload

Video 4: Kill Off Drop-By Meetings

Video 5: The Secret of the Action Log


I’m Dave Lorenzo and I’m the Chairman and Founder of Valtimax Consulting and I’ve created this video series to help provide you with some tips and strategies for not only managing your professional practice or your business but also for managing your work-life balance and in the next series of videos, we’re really going to focus on improving personal productivity.

My goal is to help you get more done in the same amount of time or more done in less time so that you can make a great living and live a great life®.

Today what we’re going to talk about is the annoying sound of the ringing telephone. That’s right. All of us as professionals, as business executives have been faced with the challenge of managing the amount of inbound calls, managing the amount of people who want to get in touch with us and want really a piece of us each and every single day.

One of the biggest productivity tips that I learned at an early age as a corporate executive and later as a professional was that answering an inbound phone call was something that would absolutely kill my personal productivity. If you think about it, your phone rings probably dozens, if not hundreds of times each and every single day. Although you may have caller ID, you have no idea who’s on the other end of that line.

You really don’t know what they’re looking for or how you’re going to be able to help them. The best thing for you to do is to let all inbound calls go to voicemail and then prioritize how you’re going to call those folks back depending upon whether they’re a client or not and whether they have urgency in their current matter or the current issue that you’re facing in your interaction with them.

Now I will grant you that it’s almost impossible to tell why someone is calling you when they leave your voicemail. Most people are not very effective at leaving voicemail messages. What I will tell you is this. You can do one of two things. You can either call these folks back yourself and say, “Hi, Mr. Smith. This is Dave Lorenzo calling and I saw that you left me a voicemail earlier today. I would like to schedule some time for us to talk about your issue. Would you mind telling me what it is?”

Then give them a two or three-minute window of opportunity to tell you what their issue is and then schedule a phone appointment, a telephone appointment to speak with them. This may seem redundant. It may seem like doing double work. Because after all, couldn’t you just answer their question while you were there on the phone with them?

Well, yes you could but that would be an unfocused, longer conversation. If you call them back and you say, “Give me just a bullet point highlight of what you want to talk about and then I will work you into my schedule over the course of the next say 24 hours or by later today,” you are controlling the interaction. That also allows you time to prepare. If you have to get a file and get the file in front of you before you return that call, you’re in much better shape.

Now here’s strategy number two. If you have administrative help in your office, you can have your administrative assistant call the person back and ask them what this topic of conversation will be all about.

This way you can have all the prep work done for you. You can have the assistant give you the file. You can get on the phone and have a scheduled 15-minute conversation with these people. Now, notice I said 15-minute conversation. We never take any inbound calls and we never have unscheduled calls. Every call has a start time and an end time and anything that’s longer than 15 minutes needs to be an appointment that’s booked on your calendar.

We will talk about appointments and how to handle them on your calendar in our next video. Until then, I wish you happy productivity. My name is Dave Lorenzo and I’m the Chairman and Founder of Valtimax Consulting. We will speak with you next time.