If you often make international calls as part of your corporate routine, then you have an interest in making sure that those calls are fruitful and unhindered by interruptions. After all, time is money - and, as a businessperson, you should be well aware of the undesirability of your money either not going as far as it should or simply being frittered away. Here are some crucial pointers...
Decide on your own schedule and stick to it
You can probably relate to the frustration of your phone ringing at inopportune moments - such as when you are supposed to be getting on with work away from the phone. Alternatively, you could be busy chatting to a vital business contact only to be notified that there is someone else attempting to get in touch with you while you are engaged. This situation could lead you to take the second person's call at a later point but, in the process, just spend too much time taking calls.
One solution to this issue is drawing up a schedule that sets aside particular times when you can be on the phone and other times when you will be unavailable for accepting calls. You should then inform other people about that schedule before you put it into action. Public speaker Kit Welchlin explains on his website
: "Batching helps you control YOUR schedule rather than being a victim of somebody else's schedule."
Tactfully make clear how much time you have
You can do this through careful wording when you start or end an international call. You could, for example, open with "I can chat for about 10 minutes" and wind things down with "I now have a meeting to attend, so thank you for your time". Alternatively, you could drop hints that you wish to soon bring the conversation to an end. "Derek, just before we end our chat..."
Prevent nasty financial surprises
When we refer to avoiding interruptions, you might reckon that we mean to the schedule you had previously been intent on following. However, your regular phone calls could trigger another kind of interruption: to your company's financial efficiency and performance.
Typically, international calls can incur hefty charges compared to calls made to phones within your company's country. This can become increasingly problematic over time - as, if your company has decided to expand to seize new opportunities overseas, you might need to make international calls fairly frequently simply to meet basic communication and networking requirements.
Fortunately, you might be able to significantly cut the usual costs of international calling - and with surprising ease, too. If, for instance, you often make overseas calls from the United Kingdom, you could register an account with Planet Numbers
before using it to make such calls at less expense. While a BT call from the UK to South Africa would cost, as standard, 60p per minute, that charge could be lowered to a staggeringly small 2p a minute when the International Caller Service at Planet Numbers is utilised.