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Voices Carry What havoc hath Alexander Graham Bell wrought?

By Geoff Williams

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Charlie had it all. He was suave, sophisticated, and he hadthree beautiful private eyes to do his bidding. Oh, sure, the realdraw of Charlie's Angels wasn't Charlie. But whileevery other 11-year-old in America was ogling Cheryl Ladd, myselfincluded, what I really coveted was The Voice coming from thebox.

Fast forward to the 1990s. Nobody's heard Muzak likeI've heard Muzak, and I get my messages returned not withinhours, but within what seems like years. A few years ago, Idelivered a voice mail so pathetic, I later parachuted out of anairplane, hoping to scare myself so badly that answering machineswould no longer wrack my nerves. (It didn't work.)

Every year, $55 billion is spent by U.S. companies to trainemployees, with more than 60 percent of em learning how to use thatphone better. Telephone skills are important. As entrepreneur AnnaBernstein of New York City says, "Your phone voice is youridentity, and it has a lot to do with whether people trust you andwant to do business with you."

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