Overcome your phone phobia to get things done right

Short of meeting face to face, speaking on the telephone is the best way to clarify expectations, solve problems (or apologize for them) and cultivate business relationships. Here are five tips.

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It’s OK; it happens to the best of us in this age of all email all the time.

We have become accustomed to conducting business electronically, because dashing off an email is usually faster and less stressful than picking up the phone. After all, that other person might drone on endlessly or, worse, reject us.

In certain situations, though, you must summon your courage and talk in real time. You never know, you might learn to like it.

Here are five situations when talking on the phone is your best course of action:

1. Following up on a proposal: You’ve crafted a killer proposal and hit send, and it’s winging its way to the recipient’s inbox—or is it? We’ve all experienced those times when the email gods are not kind and your message disappears into the email ether.

It could be because the email went to the recipient’s spam folder, the address is outdated or yours was simply missed among the recipient’s hundreds of other emails. It might even have been accidentally deleted in a mad purge.

Of course, you could send another email titled “following up” or “checking in,” but if they didn’t get the email because of a technical glitch or an incorrect address, then the recipient still won’t get it.

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