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I rarely answer unscheduled phone calls even though my phone rings all the time. Here's why — and what I do instead of talking on the phone.

by JERRY SILVER // Twitter, Facebook, Instagram
Digital PR specialist and CEO at Spin Factory

So this tweet has been doing the rounds on social media lately, and quite a few dear friends have decided to put their “lives” in my hands:

who should you call

And yes, tagging me is totally fair. Ever since getting my first mobile phone, when it comes to unscheduled phone calls, I’ve not been the most available person in the world.

Here’s why:

My Phone Rules

Situations when I’m not going to pick up the phone:

While hanging out with my son.

While spending time with my wife.

While with friends and family.

While in traffic.

While in a business meeting.

While writing or creating.

While sleeping (or having sex).

While at the gym or out running.

While in the bathroom. 

While doing housework (laundry, cooking, cleaning etc.)

While meditating.

While eating.

While watching Game of Thrones.

While grocery shopping, picking up my son at kindergarten, or any other type of public activity. 

Situations when I’m going to pick up the phone:

When I’m close to my phone when it rings, and none of the above scenarios applies, and the phone number is already in my contact list belonging to someone, who for some reason, should be unable to send a text message or an email.

When kindergarten staff calls.

When my mother calls.

Send a Text Message

Is there a potential crisis? Why not send a text message along these lines:

“Jerry. Code red. Can you make yourself available for a quick call?”

If you’re my client and you send me a text like that, I would walk out from my own wedding to take the call. (I actually did respond to a crisis call during my wedding day, so I’m serious about this.)

Want to just have a casual conversation between friends? Here’s a text message template:

“Jerry, I’m bored. In the mood for some random talk?”

As far as new business goes, I’ve gotten snarky remarks like:

“We called you first, but since you didn’t pick up your phone, we took our business elsewhere.”

Well, in each of those cases, I’m glad they did.

Now, luckily, according to my boss1, being available for random phone calls is not in my job description.


  1. Oh, the awesomeness of being self-employed, baby.

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Behind the keyboard:

Jerry Silver is the author of Doctor Spin, a PR blog that's been around for 15+ years. Via his agency Spin Factory, Jerry is advising brands on how to adapt to a 'digital first' world. In 2016, Cision Scandinavia named him "PR Influencer of the Year". Jerry lives in Stockholm, Sweden with his wife Lisah, news anchor and television host, and their three-year-old son, Jack.

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