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I’m not a phone person. I used to almost panic whenever my phone rang. While experience has helped me get over my fear of phones, I still don’t like talking on them. But, business phone calls are occasionally necessary.
When needed, I have to be able to take calls.
Except, there are a lot of people living in this house. Most of them are under the age of ten. It’s noisy in my house!
While Grandma may not mind hearing her darling grandchildren in the background, my clients probably aren’t expecting it. A noisy background can paint an unprofessional image, especially if it’s a first time call.
Around here, heading outside isn’t really an option. You see, the roosters running around out there make way more noise then my kids could ever dream of. They don’t just crow in the morning you know.
So it’s noisy in my house. It’s noisy outside. What’s a freelancing mama to do?
Here are five ways I handle business phone calls in my full house:
1. Use a Cell Phone Not a Land Line
Portability is key to having a successful phone conversation around here. That means I use a cell phone instead of a land line. I occasionally need to pick up and move while I’m talking.
To keep my cell number private, I signed up for a Google Voice number. It took a long time for one to become available in the closest metropolis to me. But, I’m glad I kept trying.
Because now I don’t have to give out my personal cell number. I love it!
And since it’s still ringing on my cell phone, I have the freedom I need to move around. As long as there’s a signal, I can take my phone there!
2. Schedule Your Calls
I rarely take unscheduled calls. My life is just too crazy. Most of my clients understand, and if I’m working with a new client, it’s something we handle when onboarding.
When you schedule your phone calls, you put yourself in control of the situation. You can spend time preparing the rest of your household, and gathering the information you need. If you’re lucky, you’ll even be able to find where your toddler put your pen so you can take notes. But only if you’re lucky! 😀
Scheduling also means you can make sure your kids won’t be tired or hungry when you’re on the phone. Tired, hungry kids whine. They whine a lot.
So feed them and make sure it’s not time for you to put them down for naps when you’re scheduling.
3. Have a Plan
I have a plan for phone calls. Here’s what my current plan involves:
My disabled son goes to his room with his iPad and a movie.
The youngest toddler and one of her big sisters go take a bubble bath.
My other toddler and final son go upstairs to play train tracks.
The oldest and the remaining child snuggle on the couch and read. The oldest is in charge for the duration of the call.
Somethings to note about my plan:
- Everyone is engaged with an activity that’s enjoyed
- The youngest kids are partnered up with older ones to help keep them safe and happy
- When I come in we usually have candy or some other treat as a reward for being good. They know this, and the bribery really helps!
4. Have a Place
I take about five minutes to get the kids settled before I start gathering my things. Then, I head to my phone place.
For me, it’s inside our family school bus.
It’s parked right outside the house, so the kids can get me easily in case of an emergency.
Being inside the bus helps tone down the noisy roosters.
There’s plenty of room for me to spread out my stuff and get comfortable.
You’ll have to find a place that works for you. It might be in your office with the door shut. Or even in the closet in your room.
Wherever you go, you want it to be away from the activities you just got your kids busy with. You want the noise to be lessened by your surroundings. And you want to be comfortable.
As I mentioned before, I really don’t like talking on the phone. But, I still want us to be prepared. That’s why we practice this routine. Even if I don’t actually have a phone call scheduled, I try to make sure we go through the motions at least once every couple months.
That’s often enough for me to check and see what needs changed. My planned activities don’t work forever, so we use practice time to reevaluate.
This practice time is good for me too–I get to go sit on the quiet school bus for a few minutes and not feel guilty about enjoying some peace and quiet.
How do you handle business phone calls?
If you’re a working parent who takes calls at home when the kids are there, I’d love to hear what tips you can add. Do you have a designated phone place as well?