Business Telephone Blunders

Written by Chris Bloor


********Copyright Chris Bloor 2002********

I don't know who David is.

I've never met him.

Thanks to his 'We're as-friendly-as-a-punch-up-the-throat' voice-mail message I doubt that I ever will.

It all started like this... I sawrepparttar offer for website design.

David’s advertisement in my local newspaper looked great. (I'm a professional copywriter so I should know) It had allrepparttar 132619 winning ingredients:

...Great Headline ...Benefits laden copy ...Convincing testimonials ...Impossible-to-resist offer

I was hooked! They had me! I grabbedrepparttar 132620 phone, punched in their number and sat there, credit card in hand, ready to say "Yes! Please! Take my money!"

The lines were busy so a mechanical voice told me to wait a moment whilst I was transferred to their voicemail.

Then it happened...

I heard Dave and what he said TOTALLY destroyed their offer and convinced me NEVER to do business with them.

I was a little disappointed but not surprised.

After all it happens so often.

I think it's one ofrepparttar 132621 # 1 mistakes most business owners make onrepparttar 132622 telephone.

You see, their advert had painted a picture in my mind.

I saw a quality business...


People I could trust.

People with a great offer and I seriously wanted to give them my money...

What did David do to stop all this?

I was expecting something like:

"Hi and thank you for calling XYZ Company all our operators are busy right now but your call is important to us so please, leave your name and number afterrepparttar 132623 beep and we'll get straight back to you"

Conflict in Cyberspace: How To Resolve Conflict Online

Written by Kali Munro, M.Ed.

Have you ever noticed how conflict can get blown out of proportion online? What may begin as a small difference of opinion, or misunderstanding, becomes a major issue very quickly. Conflict can be difficult atrepparttar best of times, but what is it about online communication that seems to ignite “flaming” and make conflicts more difficult to resolve?

There are a number of reasons to explain why conflict may be heightened online. One isrepparttar 132618 absence of visual and auditory cues. When we talk to someone in person, we see their facial expressions, their body language, and hear their tone of voice. Someone can sayrepparttar 132619 exact same thing in a number of different ways, and that usually effects how we respond.

For example, someone could shout and shake their finger at you, or they could speak gently and with kindness. They could stand up and tower over you, or they could sit down beside you. How you feel, interpret, and respond to someone’s message often depends on how they speak to you, even when it’s a difficult message to hear.

In online communications, we have no visual or auditory cues to help us to decipherrepparttar 132620 intent, meaning, and tone ofrepparttar 132621 messenger. All we have arerepparttar 132622 words on a computer screen, and how we hear those words in our head. While people who know each other have a better chance at accurately understanding each others’ meaning and intentions, even they can have arguments online that they would not have in-person.

Projections and Transference

While many people are convinced that how they read an email isrepparttar 132623 only way it can be read,repparttar 132624 truth is, how we read a text, or view a work of art, often says more about ourselves than it does aboutrepparttar 132625 message orrepparttar 132626 messenger.

All of our communications, online and in real-time, are filled with projections. We perceiverepparttar 132627 world through our expectations, needs, desires, fantasies, and feelings, and we project those onto other people. For example, if we expect people to be critical of us, we perceive other people’s communication as being critical - it sounds critical to us even though it may not be. We dorepparttar 132628 same thing online; in fact we are more likely to project when we are online precisely because we don’t haverepparttar 132629 visual or auditory cues to guide us in our interpretations. How we “hear” an email or post is how we hear it in our own heads, which may or may not reflectrepparttar 132630 tone or attitude ofrepparttar 132631 sender.

We usually can’t know from an email or post alone whether someone is shouting, using a criticizing tone, or speaking kindly. Unlessrepparttar 132632 tone is clearly and carefully communicated byrepparttar 132633 messenger, and/or we are very skilled at understanding text and human communication, we most likely hearrepparttar 132634 voice we hear, or create in our head and react to that. This is one ofrepparttar 132635 reasons why controversial or potentially conflictual issues are best dealt with by using great care and explicit expressions of our tone, meaning, and intent.

Where do projections come from? They come from our life experiences - how we’ve been treated, how important figures in our lives have behaved, how we felt growing up, how we responded and coped, etc. All of us project or transfer our feelings and views of important figures in our lives onto other people.

To take a look at your own projections or transference with people online, think back torepparttar 132636 last time you felt angry at someone online. What was it about them or their email that made you so angry? What did you believe that they were doing to you or someone else? How did you react internally and externally? Was your reaction to this person (whether spoken or not) influenced by someone or something from your past? While it certainly happens that people are treated with disrespect and anger online, if there are any parallels between this experience and any of your past experiences, it’s likely that how you felt and responded was coloured by your past. When our past is involved, particularly when we are unaware of it happening, we invariably project and transfer old feelings ontorepparttar 132637 present situation.

Disinhibition Effect

Conflict can be heightened online by what is known asrepparttar 132638 “disinhibition effect”, a phenomenon that psychologist, Dr. John Suler, has written extensively about. Suler (2002) writes,

“It's well known that people say and do things in cyberspace that they wouldn't ordinarily say or do inrepparttar 132639 face-to-face world. They loosen up, feel more uninhibited, express themselves more openly. Researchers call thisrepparttar 132640 "disinhibition effect." It's a double-edged sword. Sometimes people share very personal things about themselves. They reveal secret emotions, fears, wishes. Or they show unusual acts of kindness and generosity. Onrepparttar 132641 other hand,repparttar 132642 disinhibition effect may not be so benign. Out spills rude language and harsh criticisms, anger, hatred, even threats.” (Suler, 2002)

Suler (2002) explains thatrepparttar 132643 disinihibition effect is caused by or heightened byrepparttar 132644 following features of online communication:

a) anonymity - no one knows who you are onrepparttar 132645 net, and so you are free to say whatever you want without anyone knowing it’s you who said it.

b) invisibility - you don't have to worry about how you physically look or sound to other people when you say something. You don't have to worry about how others look or sound when you say something to them. “Seeing a frown, a shaking head, a sigh, a bored expression, and many other subtle and not so subtle signs of disapproval or indifference can slamrepparttar 132646 breaks on what people are willing to express.” (Suler, 2002)

c) delayed reactions - you can say anything you think and feel without censorship at any time, including inrepparttar 132647 middle ofrepparttar 132648 night when you’re most tired and upset, leave immediately without waiting for a response, and possibly never return - inrepparttar 132649 extreme this can feel to someone like an emotional “hit and run”.

d)repparttar 132650 perception thatrepparttar 132651 interaction is happening in your head - withrepparttar 132652 absence of visual and auditory cues you may feel as thoughrepparttar 132653 interaction is occurring in your head. Everyone thinks all kinds of things about other people in their minds that they would never say to someone’s face - online, you can say things you’d otherwise only think.

e) neutralizing of status - in face-to-face interactions, you may be intimidated to say something to someone because of their job, authority, gender, or race. Because this is not visible to you online, you feel freer to say what ever you want to anyone.

f) your own personality style may be heightened online - for example, if your communication style tends to be reactive or angry, you may be more reactive or angry online.

Tips for Resolving Conflict Online

What can be done to prevent unnecessary conflict in cyberspace? The following are tips for handling conflict online with respect, sensitivity, and care:

Don’t respond right away

When you feel hurt or angry about an email or post, it’s best not to respond right away. You may want to write a response immediately, to get it off your chest, but don't hit send! Suler recommends waiting 24 hours before responding - sleep on it and then reread and rewrite your responserepparttar 132654 next day.

Readrepparttar 132655 post again later

Sometimes, your first reaction to a post is a lot about how you're feeling atrepparttar 132656 time. Reading it later, and sometimes a few times, can bring a new perspective. You might even experiment by reading it with different tones (matter-of-fact, gentle, non-critical) to see if it could have been written with a different tone in mind thanrepparttar 132657 one you initially heard.

Cont'd on page 2 ==> © 2005
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