Tag: passing for normal

Strategies to improve phone manners

I dread phone calls. Partly because I don’t know what to say, partly because I don’t think I have good phone manners, and partly because am distracted by background noise.

However, I do know that good phone manners are essential for success at work and for running a business, so improving my phone skills has long been high on the priority list.

 
Old red phone

 
And I have improved, at least with short predictable phone calls. They are not so dreadful and scary anymore, and my husband says that I sound professional on the phone (he runs his own business and does not BS me).

I would like to share my strategies, because they work.

First of all, it always help to break a challenge into sub-challenges:

 
1. Know what to say

Knowing what to say consists of two elements:

  1. Outline the purpose of the call in a few concise sentences
  2. Small talk

Professional phone calls must begin and end with small talk. (more…)

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My work history briefly, Part IV: Starting a Small Graphic Design Business

During my last season as an office zombie, I worked in my spare time with a graphic designer (former uni mate) to start a small graphic design business. The plan was to be a graphic designer-copy writer team, and the business idea looked like an exciting potential ticket out of the never ending cycle of bad days in the office.

However, because the office job bored every sparkle of energy out of me (I slept most of the time when I was not at work), the planning and establishment phase progressed slowly. Then I quit.

I suppose it was also a good excuse to forget about workplaces for a little while. I was not eager to enter a new work depression.

So we spent the autumn brainstorming, planning and formally establishing the business, and then we tried to market ourselves.

 
The market for creative services in Australia

Graphic design/copy writing/creative services is a wildly fragmented industry because anyone with a graphic design degree can provide creative services as an independent business, and many do. There are no prohibitive start-up costs and difficult requirements, all that’s needed is a a good computer and relevant software.

So small independent graphic designers fill up the horizon, all tail wagging to get small projects. Some of them don’t seem talented, but they seem to survive on a cheapskate market of small businesses with low visual standards. Others have stunning websites and portfolios. For the big clients, there are the established cool design studios that can charge a premium price.

We tried to gauge the competition and their offers by using business registers to find their websites and then research them, but there were just to many of them to get an overview. Prices were all over the place. All the good ones are capable of looking busier and bigger than they really are because this is the visual illusion industry, and it is very hard to assess how active they really are.
(more…)