I’ll probably get a bit of ‘hate mail’ for this one, but I’m going to say it here anyway.
I received a phone call from a lady who had seen my advert in the Yellow Pages and she wanted to know how she could become one of the people on that list and do work from home too. Reasonable request and I often get calls like that. But this call was different. The lady was extremely hesitant on the phone and took quite some time to get out her questions and whilst I felt for her I also thought that if any of my potential clients were speaking with her on the phone they would lose all confidence in her ability to do work for them or represent them.
Sounds harsh? Possibly. And I know that people get nervous on the phone but the reality is that if you’re going to run a business (which is what VAs are doing) then you need to be able to articulate what you want clearly and project some confidence towards the person with whom you are having a conversation. A good tip is to have bullet points written down in front of you before you make the phone call, and practice what you want to say.
If you are one of these people who can handle the computer and internet fine but find that speaking to people is something you struggle with, then I encourage you to start going out and networking locally more, or join a group like BNI, Rotary, Lions Club, Toastmasters or similar, where you’ll get the opportunity to practice telling others about yourself and what you do.
Virtual or not, we still need to use our voices and speak to people and unfortunately nerves and a real lack of confidence will show. You can ‘fake it till you make it’ with enough practice in speaking to others. Start practicing today!
confidence, use of voice, networking locally
Kathie is the owner of VA Directory and is former past President of the Australian VA Association. She founded the Virtual Assistant industry in Australia in the mid 90s, having already been operating a home-based secretarial service. Today the VA industry covers a multitude of office-based services for clients worldwide.
Jennifer Gniadecki says
This is the number one reason people don’t get clients signing on the dotted line. All the time spent marketing and what most people working from home need is a voice coach to convey confidence and surety of purpose over a phone line.
I don’t think this post was harsh at all. If you don’t sound like you have confidence in yourself why would you think someone else would have confidence in you? It just doesn’t make sense.
I can relate. Last week I had a person ring me to try and make an appointment for a financial service I had expressed interest in. The communication was poor; the speaker was hesitant and the message was unclear. I didn’t feel confident making an appointment with the company. If they couldn’t communicate effectively with me, how could I trust them to communicate effectively with the companies where my money was to be invested?
I never used to be comfortable speaking – I’d much rather get my message across in writing – but communication is such an essential part of business and verbal communication is equally as important as other mediums. We constantly develop our skills in other areas relevant to our business, it makes sense to train our voice too.
Beverly Mahone says
This post is so on point. As someone who makes her living through communicating, I know how important it is. How you come across on the phone or in person determines more about you than you can imagine. Do you exuberate confidence or are you shy and timid? Also, some people have to be mindful that they don’t come across as too strong or arrogant. COMMUNICATION is major.
Pam Archer says
This is a point that should be made in training class for any position that requires working with clients, or general public. Nobody wants to do business with someone who doesn’t appear to know what they are doing. Our voices say a lot about us, particularly the intonation of them. E-mail can be easily miscontrued, because it doesn’t convey the voice.
Kathie,thanks so much for this post. As a presentation skills coach this speaks is an excellent case study for folks who may never do a presentation from a physical platform. Yet, via phone they must find a way to connect to clients conveying the message they intended. Thanks for your boldness to share this powerful message.
Joyce Mason says
I can’t say enough about the value of Toastmasters for people who struggle with verbal communications–or who simply want to be a better communicator. There are few walks of life where our voices are not part of the package of exchanging ideas and feelings with others. Watching myself and others blossom into effective communicators is one of the joys of my nine years as a Toastmaster. No matter how afraid you might be in front of a crowd or even one on one with strangers, we all started there to one degree or another. Toastmasters is everywhere across the globe. It’s effective and fun! Free visits are welcome, and Toastmasters are notoriously warm, friendly, and eager to help you learn to shine.
Karen O'Bannon says
You are so right about this one. People who don’t speak well, don’t get heard.