Don’t you hate it when your colleagues calling you for business purposes engage in the exchange of terms of endearment instead of getting down to the business? To me, it is a violent disregard of phone etiquette.
Take this example. Some time ago I worked with a team in India which was coordinated from the US by this genius named Anand. Since I was leading the team, people felt free to molest me by calling at 11PM whenever there was the slightest hint of a problem. So, as you can imagine, I didn’t exactly let out an ecstatic squeal when I got a call from Anand. I would rather be done with the call as quickly as possible and get back to my previously scheduled programming.
When I get his call on my cell phone, I do see his name. So I know who is calling. Moreover, none of my friends call me at that time because they know what I would be doing â€“ washing dishes, of course. So I pick up the call and say, â€œHey, what’s up?”
Here we have to stop for a moment and think about what the opening statement means.
If I say, â€œHi, this is TD,â€ it means â€œI don’t know who the hell you are so state your name and purpose.”
If I say, â€œHi?â€ it means â€œI know who you are but I can’t imagine what perverted reason you could have for calling at this ungodly hourâ€
But if I say, â€œHey, what’s up?â€ it means, â€œI know who you are and why you are calling, so cut the bull and get to the point.â€
But apparently Anand and I were not on the same page, or in the same book for that matter, when it comes to talking on the phone.
Here goes the conversation:
Me: Hey, what’s up?
Anand: Hi… TD?
Huh? Unless my months-old son’s voice started cracking reeeeally early, it has to be me!
Me: Ya, hi. So?
Anand: Hi, this is Anand
I KNOW that. I read it in 24pt typeface on my phone
Me: Hi Anand.
OK, NOW can we get to the point?
Anand: How are you?
Jesus F. Christ! Get to the effing point al-effing-ready
See what I mean? I hope people start respecting other people’s time. It doesn’t apply to friends though. I am happy if friends waste my time.
Oh, before I stop, I have to give you this gem.
Anand calls. I figure, if I announce to him I know who is calling, we can hit the ground running, so to sepak.
Me: Hi Anand. What is the issue.
Anand: (pause)Ya, Hi, this is Anand.
I already said that! Jesu… You know the rest of the story.