Culture

Just Pick Up the Phone

Last Updated on August 11, 2016

With the proliferation of everything digital it seems like a text or email has become the default communication method.  Heck, my kids won’t even answer the phone—I have to text them to get a response. And don’t expect a voicemail to expedite the response.

Let’s face it: While digital communication has its uses and benefits, sometimes it just makes sense to pick up the phone. We get in the habit of communicating digitally through email, text, tweets and Facebook, and while I may be a slow typist, at times email is definitely easier and more convenient:

  • You can send it 24/7 at your convenience and they can read it 24/7 at their convenience
  • You can plan out what you say and revise it until you’re happy
  • You can remove the emotion when you’re frustrated or angry
  • You can have someone else review it
  • You have permanent documentation and a trail of thoughts in the email history
  • You can find it later when you want to refer back to it
  • The recipient can pass it on to others

I’m also guilty at times of “Man, I just don’t want to talk to _______ right now (you know who you are).” In those cases email is ALWAYS preferred.

But how many times do you say (or hear) “I sent them an email but have not heard back;” or how many times do you have to send five follow-up emails to finally figure something out. Email is supposed to facilitate communication but if it takes several hours for the other person to get back to me and then it takes me a couple of hours to get back to them, it actually takes LONGER to communicate via email.

So here’s a vote for just picking up the phone – not as a last resort, but as a proactive, immediate communication tool. Consider the benefits of a phone call:

  • You get a response right now (assuming they actually pick up)
  • It’s a two (or more) way of communicating
  • You can hear emotion in their voice and get a feel for how they’re reacting to the conversation (without having to interpret words in all-caps or exclamation marks)
  • You can ask follow-up questions as they come up
  • You can build and enhance a relationship

As a salesperson and relationship builder, sometimes I actually ENJOY being on the phone and talking to people.

I’m one of the few people in our company who was around when you could not send an email. You HAD to pick up the phone. Maybe I sound a little like Andy Rooney on a rant about insignificant things at the end of 60 Minutes, but there are times when it just makes sense to pick up the phone and get your answer right now.

The way I see it is:

Email is preferred when: Phone is preferred when:
It’s after hours You don’t have access to email
You want to edit and measure your words You need to have a dialogue
You want a record of the conversation You want to connect with the other person
It’s not urgent You need an immediate answer
You want to find it later You enjoy talking to them

 

What do you think about email versus phone? I welcome your thoughts, so feel free to hop on over to our Facebook page and make sure we aren’t emailing or calling you at the wrong time!