News Flash: You Can Still Call Someone with a Telephone

Call not email

We want our phones to text, snap, surf, inform, and email.

Does anyone remember they still have a feature that allows the user to call another person?

Seriously. They do. You should try it.

Change Management for restructuring

Tell me you didn’t communicate that via email or text

Often when I listen to someone tell me the story about about a conflict, the person goes on and on recounting the details of the communication exchange. “She said that I … So I told her… Then she comes back with… Can you believe it?”

That’s a whole lot of saying when actually there was no saying at all. Instead it was all writing.

You see, this conversation never actually happened. Rather, it was an exchange of email or text messages.

The question I want answered when I hear these stories is, “Why didn’t you have a conversation with the person?” When I’ve asked, the excuses are all too familiar:

  • I didn’t want to get the person mad.
  • I didn’t have time.
  • She wasn’t around.
  • I just needed to get it off my chest.
  • I didn’t want to make it a big deal.

When I suggest that this exchange would have been more effective had it happened face-to-face or over the phone, I either get a look of disbelief, more excuses, or a sheepish acknowledgement that they knew I was right.

Many times I have warned people against the danger of using email. Usually the warning goes something like this, “Email is missing both visual and audio cues that people need to accurately interpret what you are trying to say. Without this information, your message is likely to be misinterpreted, and that can cause big problems for you as well as your intended recipient.”

Today I’m going to add one more reason to the list of why you should remove your hands from your keyboard and pick up the phone. It will save you time.

How it usually works

Think about it. You’re cruising through your email inbox when you get to one from a coworker who wants your feedback on a proposal. You read the proposal and decide that yes you have some feedback. You start typing.

You want to make sure you provide all the feedback. You also want to write carefully so as to not offend your coworker. You hammer out your thoughts in about fifteen minutes, but then spend another fifteen polishing before you are ready to send. Your feedback generates a clarifying question from the other person and back and forth you go with a few more notes. In the end, you invested nearly an hour conveying your thoughts regarding this one email.

How it could work

Now imagine going a different route. This time you pick up the phone and say, “Hey Chuck, got your note and thought it would be easiest to simply give you a quick call…” You share your thoughts. He asks a few clarifying questions, and 10 minutes later you are finished.

You’ve shared the feedback and probably provided greater understanding to Chuck by allowing him to immediately ask questions. Based on his tone, you were able to adjust your response on the fly to minimize any hurt feelings.

Go for the win

Want to get through the email inbox faster? Pick out anything you believe requires a “well-crafted” response, and call the person with your answer. You’ll save time and maybe even prevent carpel tunnel.

Oh, and let’s not forget, be better understood. A triple win!

By Tom LaForce

Tom LaForce helps companies change by creating stronger teams, more effective leaders, and better processes. To discuss a challenge you're facing, use this link to schedule a free discovery call.