Mind Your Manners: Pick Up the Phone

By MEREDITH LOVE on APRIL 4, 2016

If you are just starting your career, please learn the importance of soft skills. Some recent college graduates struggle to understand their importance. Soft skills are sometimes referred to as people skills, transferrable skills, social skills, interpersonal skills, or emotional intelligence. These characteristics are intuitive for many people, but those entering the work force often struggle with them. The term “soft skills” describes the ability to build, develop, and nurture business relationships. Even the basics you learned in kindergarten – and have mastered in your personal life – are highly valued by employers.

What we’re seeing and hearing in the marketplace, and what we’ve observed, is that some of the millennials lack critical soft skills. The written word is different from the spoken word. The younger generation knows how to communicate via text and email, but they need to also learn how to do it properly in the work force, and thus by phone.

He’s Doing Great, But…

Texting your boss is bad soft skills.

There have been times when we have called some of our clients to check up on a recent hire, and this is what we hear, “He’s doing great, but he’s upsetting the sub-contractors because he’s just texting, emailing, etc.” It is important to pick up the phone and have an actual conversation. Those who have been in the industry a while longer will really appreciate it. Tone is not readable in emails, but a phone call, on the other hand, has the advantage of hearing the actual tone of one’s voice. Use it as an opportunity to more accurately get your point across without coming across as sarcastic, rude, demanding, lazy, or however the words may seem to those on the receiving end of your message.

If you’re a young assistant project manager in your 20s looking to build your career in the construction industry, it’s likely you already have a plethora of technical skills in your back pocket. However, you might be lacking in the communication department & not realize it. Don’t just text, email and use emoticons. Your roots will go a lot deeper with a phone call. It’s okay to let your personality shine through. You don’t have to be a faceless suit or boot. A phone call will help deter misunderstandings & build a deeper connection and better relationship.

Emphasize All Your Skills

Whether you are thinking about an interview in the future or you are happy where you’re at, be sure to think about ways to let those around you see the personable soft skills side of you through your:

  • Common sense

  • Empathy

  • Manners

  • Optimism

  • Sense of humor

  • Situational awareness

  • Ability to articulate goals

  • Teamwork

  • Negotiating skills

  • Drive

Identifying Soft Skills

The best soft skills of all show excited employees.

Sometimes it’s difficult for hiring managers to identify soft skills — in fact, that’s one reason for personal interviews. It’s up to you to show and tell. Through your eagerness, strength of words and enthusiastic presentation, you can show recruiters and employers alike that you have the drive to become a valued employee.

Start with your recruiter, who also is looking for that spark of energy that employers desire in candidates. Prove that you can buck the current trend of recruits who lack enthusiasm. Some people believe that social media is to blame for the new generation of young people who haven’t yet developed effective communication abilities. They have no idea what soft skills are. But through this article, you can share a few tips with those in your circle of influence to help educated the world about soft skills and why they are so important.

A Powerful Business Idea

In the book The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea by Bob Burg and John David Mann, they share five laws to “stratospheric success.” The third law is the law of influence. “Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.” The fourth law is the law of authenticity. “The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.”

“Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.”

Basically, it’s important to realize that picking up the phone is important to the people you’re working with as well as to the people you’re working for. It’s not just about yourself and your own convenience or expedience. Remember to offer your own personality. Don’t just bark orders. If you take a moment to pause and think about how the other person might perceive your words, you might want to simply pick up the phone instead.

Due to your newly implemented soft skills, your coworkers will appreciate you picking up the phone, and you will probably feel a lot better about your relationships in the long run.

The Author

Straight from the desk of

Meredith Love

Meredith Love

Executive Vice President

Meredith Love began her career with Kimmel & Associates as an associate in 2002. She holds a BA degree from Vanderbilt University and an MBA from Western Carolina University with a concentration in Organizational Behavior.

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