Yoo-hoo! Is Anybody Home?

Back in the day when we had a home phone my son, Jesse, was little maybe eight years old when my husband and I decided it was high time we taught him how to answer the phone. If you’ve ever called a friend’s home. had their first grader answer the phone and then be left lying on the floor with the receiver for the next 15 minutes, you understand exactly why this is necessary. Answering a telephone isn’t intuitive for small children.

So we drafted a script of sorts which was laminated and attached with velcro to our phone’s receiver. When the phone rang, all Jesse had to do was tear the script off the receiver and read the first sentence:

“Hello, this is Jesse. How may I help you?”

The caller inevitably asked to speak with another member of the family. Sadly for Jesse, no calls came for the poor boy until much later in life.

His next step was to respond appropriately. The answer to the caller was, predictably, either a.) “One moment, please. I’ll go get her/him.” or b.) “I’m sorry. (S)he’s unavailable right now. May I take a message?”

As you can imagine, after some time Jesse became so adept at the script that eventually he outgrew it, ad-libbed it even, delighting his sister’s friends who often called just to hear Jesse’s responses.

The point, you’re wondering? There are many times in business where scripts come in handy. When I first started working as a manuscript coordinator at the journal Endocrinology, years ago, I wrote out a script to help me remember how to field calls, making note, even, of how to pronounce the journal’s title. It’s not that I couldn’t pronounce the name of the journal, but you have to admit it’s a bit of a tongue twister when combined with a phone greeting.

Business forms are, essentially, scripts. I use them all of the time. Acknowledgement letters. Responses to inquiries. Don’t be afraid to draft and post scripts or your own business forms in an ostensible location until you find that you don’t need them anymore. Having a basic script enables you to respond effortlessly, avoiding procrastination.

What scripts do you use regularly?

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About Mary Rarick

Caffeine-addicted hyphen enthusiast, grammar geek and former editor; lover of shoes, vacuum cleaner tracks and compelling content; enthusiastic, perennial cause adopter; hash tag abuser, connector and social media strategist.
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