Another vital human contact element revolves around the first words we use, especially on the telephone. On the telephone we have maybe 5-to-20 seconds to capture attention successfully! Some people, on answering the phone, donÕt make a mental switch from what they are working upon at the time. For them the phone call can be quite disruptive. Accordingly, we can fail to successfully communicate if we are not capable of causing a happy mental switch. Did you ever call an agency and get the feeling that the responding person just wanted to get you off the phone, even when their job was to answer the phone?
Remember the first 5-to-20 rule! That's the moment to capture the other persons mental awareness in a positive and interesting way with meaning and benefits to THAT person. It takes practice and skill to do that in some cases. Our first few words can be all determinative. We can say, "This is Sam Jones of the ABC agency. I want to talk about..". Or we can say, "Is this Bill Walters?" (the responding tone indicates the mental state...impatience, etc.). "This is about the storms over the weekend. This is the Alta. County emergency management agency, Tom Jones here. Do you have time to discuss that at this time?"
Even in a face-to-face encounter, those first few seconds of speech make all the difference in how we are perceived. It can take months and years of effort to overcome something we did/said in those first few seconds if we are unaware of how our appearance and/or words affect others!!
For emergency management agency officials a related aspect of the "first few seconds" is this: Amateur Radio Operators - at least those who are trained in emergency response - are by their very nature accustomed to instant response. Most can access their radio in less than 10 seconds, whether asleep or awake! That trait is one that can be beneficial to your agency in an emergency. In the long history of Amateur Radio there are many instances of where their 'instant response' capabilities have provided life-saving communications to their communities