Picture this: You’re lounging at home, chatting on the phone with a friend when your favorite television show begins.  Three seconds into the theme song, your attention shifts.  Forty seconds in and you’re busted.

“Are you listening to me?”


“Oh really?  What was I just talking about?”


Ah, being caught in the act of not listening—it’s happened to me more than once during telephone conversations with friends and family, and I’ve caught a few of them in the act, too.

Although we may not always devote our full attention to casual phone conversations, most of us wouldn’t dream of speaking with a business associate while channel surfing or blasting the radio.  But when faced with business-related distractions, it’s easy to drift off during a phone call with a client or co-worker, and as a result, easy to make a poor impression.  We may save a few minutes by checking our email while speaking with an associate, but is it worth the embarrassment of asking that associate to repeat herself?

At Ruby Receptionists, our virtual receptionists understand the importance of listening.  Of course, our phone answering team doesn’t just listen—we send and receive hundreds of email messages daily, answer questions, return calls, and help our clients’ businesses run smoothly, and we do it all while balancing several computer programs.  But we also work hard to make every caller feel taken care of, and we know listening intently is a key step in that process.  Although each Ruby is an amazing multi-tasker, a live call always takes priority and receives undivided attention.  We simply couldn’t deliver our stellar service any other way.

Our method for focusing on each caller is simple: we minimize distractions.  If you’re easily distracted while on the phone, try closing or minimizing any computer applications that don’t relate to your call.  If you forget details easily, try making notes about what your caller is saying (our remote receptionists are excellent note-takers).  Most importantly, slow down, focus, and simply listen.  You may have loads of work piling up, but trying to juggle two (or more!) tasks while on the phone is a dangerous habit.  Just like friends and family, any keen caller is likely to notice when your attention is elsewhere.  If you make a habit of engaging in conversation and setting other tasks aside, your associates are sure to feel appreciated.