We’ve talked about our pitch and pace. We’ve talked about smiling and we’ve even looked at the way we emphasis words to affect the meaning and message we get across, but what about energy? This may seem a little vague, but all of the things we’ve looked at in the previous posts are for nothing if our own energy levels are low. So lets talk a little about energizing ourselves. If your job involves making or taking a lot of calls, its tough to keep a consistent level of motivation and energy from the start of the day to the end.
Lets take the example of working in a call center, you may have to take many calls during the day, in fact in a busy company you may have to take anywhere from 20 to 100 calls depending on the type of call center that you work in. I have talked to customer service reps who are expected to take 120 calls in an 8-hour day. This is a lot of calls to take and it can get quite repetitive and quite monotonous. If you think about it that is about 15 calls per hour, every hour for 8 hours. A call every 4 minutes or so. Tough going and I’d be impressed if someone could maintain a high level of energy from call 1 all the way to call 120. What can we do to make sure that our energy levels, our enthusiasm and our effectiveness maintains throughout the entire day?
There is no simple answer to this and while I would love to turn round and say “this is the technique that works, this is what you can do to make sure that on every single call you are as enthusiastic as the previous one”, but the reality of it is there is no one technique that’s going to work for everybody. In this instance, what I recommend is, a little bit of self-reflection. Everyone knows something that they can do to pick themselves up during the day. Everyone knows something that they can do to make themselves feel a bit better.
For some people this is caffeine, a lot of people I know, when they’ve had a bad call, they jump up quickly, they grab themselves a cup of coffee, they have a few sips, they feel a lot better, they go back down and they go ‘ah, I’ve had my coffee, back into the calls, back into the routine!’ Brilliant, fantastic. For other people, it’s a cigarette, not I am condoning smoking, but if that’s what picks you up and makes you continue well throughout the day, by all means continue. (please quit and find something better if you can thought) For other people, it’s simply just standing up and having a bit of a stretch.
One trainee that I dealt with in a call center in Dublin, whenever he had a difficult call, all he did was, he stood up, stretched his arms and legs, shook out his limbs, sat back down again, smiled and went ‘next customer will be better’. And sure enough, his tone of voice, his energy, his attitude on the next call was instantly better. It was a very small psychological technique, yet very effective for him, and worked. And he would do this periodically throughout the day, and it would work every single time. What he had done was, he had associated that feeling of being a little bit better and feeling a little bit more enthusiastic with just standing up and stretching.
So whatever it is that you can do to make yourself feel that little bit more picked up, that little bit more energized throughout the day, please, by all means do it periodically throughout the day. Whatever it is, keep it clean and keep it within the rules of whatever company you’re working for, but ensure that you have something like this. For me, throughout the day is not so much as a challenge, it’s the beginning or the end of the day where I feel my energy changing or lacking. In the morning, what I do is that I walk to work or I get on a train or I hop in a car and I listen to upbeat music for a few minutes and I don’t talk to people. I’m not trying to be anti-social, it’s just a little ‘me’ time. Even when I’m on public transport in the mornings, I will listen to my music, I will read the newspaper and I will just live in this little happy cocoon for the 20-30 minutes until I arrive at the door. Once I arrive at the door then, I’m into work mode and this, hopefully has picked me up for the day.
If I do feel my energy lacking throughout the day, all it takes is a few minutes of putting myself in one of the empty rooms, on a break, having a bottle of water, and listening to an upbeat music. This for me picks me up for the rest of the day. 3 minutes of me time with a song or to shake out my limbs and I’m generally right as rain. This doesn’t happen over night, but you can program your brain into associating this little action with feeling better. People have commented that sometimes in the morning they have spotted me on the train, and they almost instinctively know not to talk to me until I get to work. It’s an interesting phenomenon, and I only noticed it when somebody pointed it out to me, but it was actually true. I’ve made this little cocoon, this little warm happy bubble for myself for that little bit of the commute in the morning, and, if uninterrupted, it gets me through the day.
Again, this is my own little thing, whatever works for you, please, by all means, do it. The simple truth about it is, no matter how you look after your tone, pitch and pace and everything else when you’re on a call, if your energy isn’t there, it’s just not a good experience for you or the person on the other end of the line. It may take a while, but figure out what your ‘energizer’ is during your day-to-day normal working environment, do the thing that you know works for you.