Tuesday, April 06, 2010
F is for Fear
The fear that I am talking about today, however, is one that I have observed time and time again in my line of work, and on in which I have even found myself engaging in too - to my horror. This is the irrational fear of voice mail that people seem to have.
Yeah, it's out there. I work in a business in which I have to answer the phone a lot, and everyone in my office has a voice mail that they check regularly. In fact, there are large, annoying lights on each and every phone that glow when there is a message for you. Yet, for some reason, when people call the office and the person they are calling for (the "callee" in legaleze) is not available, people are always so hesitent to leave a message. They don't even like to leave an old-tymey message where you take a pen and write it down on a little pad. But it's mostly voice mail that they are afraid of.
And I am not sure why. Even to say something as simple as "Hey, call me back" is apprently too much for most people to understand, which is sad because it is really effective. I understand that sometimes you don't want to have to explain your life story to a machine, but that's fine. However, you don't have to say that much. The thing that people don't realize is that you don't need to give all the details in a voice mail message: Only the basics are really needed. " I am calling regarding the Mexler account, please call me back at 333-4321" or whatever.
I understand that sometimes, people don't want to leave a message because maybe they are not in a position to receive a return call. Okay, that's fine. Maybe just say "I am calling regarding the Mexler account. I can't receive calls today but I will try you again tomorrow." Or there is another alternative. Tell me that. Let me know. "Oh, I will try back again later because I can't take phone calls right now." Because, if you are going to call back again later, 1.) you obviously don't have the person's number so I am going to have to deal with you again and 2.) the odds are the person probably won't be around when you call back since you have no idea where they are, what they are doing, or how long they are going to be. And there is nothing I love more than getting sixteen phone calls from someone who won't leave a message.
I don't know what drives this irrational fear that we have of the voice mail, and normally I would sort of take wild stabs in the dark at it, but I can say for certain that I don't know. I don't know because I have experienced this phenomenon before and I can't put my finger on it. There is just something about it where I have been terrified of leaving a message. I am getting good about leaving messages when calling for work related purposes, but I am terrible about it at home. Like when I am calling my family, friends or loved ones, which is extra stupid because they are my family, friends, and loved ones. So what's with that? I don't know. I have thought about it but I have never been able to put my finger on it, so I am just going to accept it and move on.
There are, however, some things that we can do to conquer this fear. "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Notice how Franklin Roosevelt never mentioned voice mail in that famous quote, and that is because there is really nothing to be afraid or apprehensive of. And we can conquer this fear, we just need to each do our little part. So that's what I am going to do: my part. I am going to make a conscious effort to defeat my fear and leave voice mail messages. I am going to not be afraid and embrace the technology that is afforded us. If each and every one of you does the same, we will perservere. And we can all leave messages for one another to that effect.