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Lose Your Landline, Now

Lose Your Landline, Now

Telephone

    I don’t have a landline in my apartment. And since I work from home, that means that I don’t have a landline for my work either. I haven’t had a landline for almost four years now, and I’m okay.

    While not everyone is in a position to get rid of his or her landlines, I’ve found that — in general — losing the landline can really help simplify life. After all, without a landline, you don’t have to worry about

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    • the expense of a landline (including long distance!)
    • remembering to pay at least one bill
    • checking messages
    • waiting by the phone

    Your Cell Phone

    Odds are good these days that you have a cell phone. I can honestly think of exactly one person I know who doesn’t have one: my grandmother, who is always with my grandfather and his cell phone. In fact, I received an email last week from my alma mater announcing a change in the dorms there. The school is no longer providing any sort of phone service in student housing, because no one uses it. If an institution providing housing to hundreds of people can afford to ditch landlines, why can’t you?

    There are some crucial benefits to a cell phone over a landline, as well. Long distance always comes to mind: if you have a telephone in your home or office with long distance, the odds are that you are paying extra for that service — whether your phone bill is broken down that way or not. Call waiting, caller ID and half a dozen other services are treated the same way. But most cellular contracts toss all those ‘premium’ features in at no extra cost.

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    Skype and Other Online Services

    I admit there are some times that a cell phone may not cut it. If, for instance, you’re traveling overseas, calling back home may be prohibitively expensive. But I’ve had a lot of success with Skype, even when calling non-Skype users. (If you aren’t familiar with Skype, rather than rehashing its uses here, I’d suggest looking over The Simple Dollar’s brand new introduction to Skype.)

    Skype, and its competitors, have a clear payoff compared to landlines: most offer at free calling within their systems — that is, if both people on the call are members of the service — and all offer inexpensive calls off their systems. If you can convince everyone you call to install Skype on their computers, you can make all of your calls for free. That’s a little unlikely, admittedly, but if many of your calls go to the same people, you may be able to get those people signed up. I’ve got both of my parents on Skype these days — I’m pretty sure that I’m the only person they talk to on their computers, but we talk often enough that we’re all saving money.

    Get It In Writing

    One of the greatest benefits I’ve had from using only my cell phone, honestly, is the fact that I’ve come to rely more heavily on email. While that can sound bad — it conjures up images of an inbox full to bursting — it can be a good thing. To get the information I need in a phone call, I might end up talking to a person for fifteen minutes. But if I’ve asked a person to email me details, rather than call me, I can sort out what my next actions are in a minute or less. And while I can choose what phone calls I’ll answer based on phone numbers, I can set up more robust rules for handling email.

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    The Fax Dilemma

    One of the biggest struggles for me and my sans landline office has been faxing. I’ve worked on plenty of contracts where the easiest options for clients was faxing signed documents back and forth. Depending on your industry, the people you work with may be uncomfortable with digitally signing documents — or entirely unaware that such a possibility exists.

    But there are quite a few options for online fax services — most are not free, but the cost is almost always less than maintaining a fax line for the occasional document. Services such as Fax Digits and FaxZero offer either sending or receiving for free, so there are some work-arounds if you want to try to eliminate your fax budget entirely.

    Out of Range

    Landlines do have some things going for them over cell phones: they don’t drop calls, can have a lot less static and never run out of battery (assuming we aren’t talking about cordless models). But how often are you away from your home or office? Compare that time to how often your cell phone is out of range.

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    I know I would have the use of a landline significantly less of the time than a cell phone — which is also available at the same time as a landline. For me, at least, a somewhat more reliable instrument isn’t enough reason to justify two phone bills. Of course, a person could choose to jettison his cell phone rather than his landline, but I just don’t see that happening in most households.

    Shelve the Antique

    A phone that you can’t take with you when you go is rapidly becoming an antique. While there are some homes and offices that still need landlines, there are plenty of people who can do without — and improve both their finances and their productivity in the process. It may be time to take a good long look at your telephone needs and see if you’re one of them.

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    Last Updated on May 21, 2019

    How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

    How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

    For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

    If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

    Example 1

    You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

    You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

    In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

    Example 2

    You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

    People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

    You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

    Example 3

    You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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    The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

    Example 4

    You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

    Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

    If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

    Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

    • Understand your own communication style
    • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
    • Communicate with precision and care
    • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

    1. Understand Your Communication Style

    To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

    In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

    Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

    2. Learn Others Communication Styles

    Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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    If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

    “How do you prefer to receive information?”

    This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

    To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

    3. Exercise Precision and Care

    A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

    On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

    Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

    I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

    I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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    In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

    The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

    Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

    4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

    Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

    In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

    “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

    Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

    Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

    It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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    It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

    It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

    Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

    Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

    The Bottom Line

    When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

    I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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    Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

    Reference

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