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Call Me Maybe?

September 7, 2012

Anyone else sick of this song yet? It might have been the theme song for summer 2012 or at least it was for me.

As the Asst. House Manager, one of my duties was calling ushers to remind them when they signed up to volunteer for what performances. We have about 500 volunteer ushers and I do the calling for two of our theatres so as you can imagine, I’m juggling phones constantly (and yesterday, literally). If I’ve learned anything this summer, it is phone etiquette and the art of telephoning.

  •  Have a phone number that someone can professionally reach you and you can respond to. I fail at this—our theatre doesn’t have a House Management phone and so our ushers have to call us on our private cell phones or they try to either A) call the box office who don’t know the answers to your questions or B) they call the theatre itself, which is separate from our company and the message is never passed along to us. All three ways are bad ones. Have a professional phone for professional use and use it! (P. S. If you work for a school during the school year and give me your school phone number, how am I supposed to get ahold of you in the summer?)
  • Voice Mail. I cannot, cannot, CANNOT stress the importance of a good voice mail message. My parents are guilty of this one (I am still on the answering machine, although I’m only home for Thanksgiving and Christmas these days). My two new biggest pet peeves are the automatic voice mail (“I’m sorry, nobody is available to take your call. Please leave a message after the tone. BEEP.”) and the badly recorded voice mail (“Hi, this is 555-2424, leave a message.” This is usually very loud). For the sake of my ears, leave this message or some variant for me to listen to: “Hi, this is the College Theatre Dork and if you leave me a message with your number, I’ll get back to you soon. Thanks!” I emphasize that instead “Hi, this is 555-2424”, you leave me your professional name instead. If you recently moved and I called your old number, I won’t know that 555-2424 doesn’t belong to you anymore. Or if you give me the wrong number by accident? I need to know that this is your phone and that I have reached you.

Funny story, my dad once accidentally called my old dorm room number and as it turns out, the current occupations never updated the voice mail from the one me and my freshman roommate made. On the other hand, if I called the wrong number, you just gave me a new number to add to my phone book and I might be someone you don’t want calling you, like a telemarketer.

  • Speaking of telemarketers…I have newfound respect for them. We have our little speech written down and we’d like to tell it you. You don’t have to listen to the whole thing but there is a difference between rudely cutting us off and simply confirming that yes, I got the details already, thank you.
  • Make sure we have your phone number (and if we need it, an emergency contact number too). The number of ushers who don’t give us their telephone number is almost the same number of ushers who don’t show up at all.
  • And if you are one of the people who do the calling like me, have a good tongue-twister in your pocket along with a packet of Ricolas. I like Grip Top Sock, Red Leather/Yellow Leather and Lemon-Honey.

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