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Call me back! A CEO laments unanswered phone messages

Maynard Webb urges patience, politeness, and persistence in dealing with unanswered calls


Editor’s Note: Each week Maynard Webb, former CEO of LiveOps and former COO of eBay, offers candid, practical, and sometimes surprising advice to entrepreneurs and founders. To submit a question, write to Webb at

Q. I’m having an issue with people not returning my calls. I don’t want to be a pest but I’m also not sure that they received the message. People don’t seem to communicate the same way anymore! 

—CEO on hold

Dear CEO,

I understand your frustration. People are dealing with so much incoming communication and it’s hard to know if you are getting through. I appreciate that I can see that a text was delivered or even read, as opposed to an email that I’ll never know whether it was opened or a voice mail that I can’t tell if someone listened to. 

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