You know that weird little fear our generation seems to have about using the phone? Where you’d much rather deal with other humans via email than by using your voice, becoming a huge misanthrope every time you can hear the phone ringing, or getting a butterfly sensation right before you start dialling someone’s number? Yeah, that.
Well, I reckon this little bit of nervousness is entirely justified. We’re a generation who are so used to seeing the typed word rather than dealing with anonymous voices over a phone line. It’s more natural for us to deal with strangers online. We’ve been doing it all our lives.
Don’t believe this phenomena actually exists? Case in point: Dominos pizza have developed an app for iPhones. That’s right folks, a company who functions on the basis of people phoning in to order pizza has produced an application to use- on a device originally intended for calling people- that bypasses actual human contact, so people can order pizza. Our phones are no longer being used to phone people. In fact, they’re being explicitly used to not phone people.
So, we can all just accept the only reason people spend hundreds of pounds on smartphones is to play Angry Birds and never vocally speak to each other again- right? No, because the world is designed to intentionally spite us, and the art of phone calls is one that we pretty much have to master.
At my York Press work placement last week, I spent a lot of time on the phone. To primary school teachers, scientists, press offices. I had to get quotes from them for news items, find interesting points to dry stories, and in the case of the scientist, get her to explain her research in a way that even I, with my baffled expression and lost GCSE science certificate, could understand.
Luckily for me, I have a year of working at a restaurant under my belt. There’s the guy who wants to book at table of thirty for a Saturday night and won’t take “We’re fully booked” for an answer, and the little old lady who forgot to turn on her hearing aid before she rang. I’ve fine tuned my phone voice out of pure necessity. You need to be bloody efficient when taking deposits for Christmas parties while you have two burning plates in your hands.
So you’d think with this splash of experience I’d be a bit less of a complete idiot when it came to phone interviews. Well, guess again, because for all my bravado and flourish when taking booking via phonecalls, my phone interview skills aren’t quite up to scratch just yet.
On task to get a quote from two primary schools that were participating in Movemeber (the staff, obviously. Not some crazily developed year threes.), I genuinely asked a school receptionist whether she “liked moustaches”. Her response was brutal. “I couldn’t really care less about them love, do you need anything else?” Cue awkward silence and a mental note to prepare for phone interviews in the future.