Career Education and Etiquette -- Cross Generation Communication

Todays World of Business and Miscommunication

A recurring problem in business today is a breakdown in communcation with something as simple as making a phone call. Recent college graduates set themselves up for failure by not understanding how senior management do business. Here’s a great example from a great longterm friend and business owner David Shallow, Re/Max Professionals Select Naperville, IL

Post from David Shallow

David Shallow

I got a feedback form from an agent that said she was trying to reach me for TWO DAYS and she had a client interested in my listing. I IMMEDIATELY called her cell phone, and the voicemail was full, so I called her office. As the phone was ringing, she called me back, so I picked up and apologized, but asked her WHERE she was calling me.

“The number in the MLS. The 615 number.” - The younger agent

“We have no messages from you there. I wonder what happened?” - I responded

“Oh, I didn’t leave a message. I never leave a message.” - The younger agent

“Then how would we know you were trying to reach us? Does that work for you? I don’t understand.” - I responded

“It’s a new generation. We don’t leave messages. That’s why my voicemail is full. Besides……I texted you too.” - The younger agent

“First of all, that’s a landline, and do you really just expect people to call you back, simply because you assume they have your number on their Caller ID?” - I responded

“Yes. People call me back all the time. It’s a new generation.” - The younger agent

“Yeah, you’re going to have to leave me a message to get me to call you back. It’s an old generation, and etiquette is even older than that. Plus, it’s a BUSINESS.” - I responded

My Thoughts as a Business Owner

As a business owner since 1996 what I have found over the years but more so today when a phone call comes in with a number that is not recognized it is not answered and left to go to voicemail. I receive so many phone calls on a daily basis that are either someone trying to sell me something or the latest scam and they don’t leave messages. I never return those calls. The calls I return are from messages from folks leaving me their name and number and asking me to return their call as they have questions or would like more information. What I request in any message is who’s calling with their name and best number to reach them first and their specific question so that I am prepared with the information they are looking for when I return their call.

"Assumptions are the termites of relationships."
—Henry Winkler
"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place."
—George Bernard Shaw