In times of need or when you require a quick responses, it is important to remember that you need to pick up the phone. In this digital age, everyone assumes that any form of communication will work efficiently, effectively, and give you the best result. However, the best result if you cannot get in front of the person you need to talk to, it is important to pick up the phone and actually call someone.
That may seem like something of the past time. I mean, even as a mid-twentys man, I don’t even recall much of my life that was spent on the phone during middle school or high school. But there are so many people, millenials, X & Y generations, and even now baby boomers and sometimes depression era people that think that a text, email or snapchat is the quickest way to communicate with someone. Okay, I will be honest, I do not know anyone over the age of 26 that uses snapchat. But wouldn’t it be hilarious to get 6 second clips of Grandma knitting?!?! Or to fit my Gram better, a 10-no trump Bid 500 hand. That would be sweet.
So with 5 generations of people thinking now that it is faster to get in touch with someone using a form of communication other than face-to-face or phone, it is important to know and understand the downfalls.
Text message. I have heard that the 90% of text messages are read within 4 minutes of being received. That is insane. Really, think about that. What was the last text you received? Mine? “The Pens have been dominating the last 25 minutes of this game.” And I did read it in 4 minutes. But 95% of the text messages we receive, no matter the time of day or from who, do not deal with important matters. So this may seem like a great way to get in touch with someone. But don’t forget that texts with urgency should be able to have simple 1-5 word answers. If they can’t answer with, “yes,” “no,” or “I will call you shortly,” it is not a conversation for texting. Pick up the phone and use that “Call” button.
Emails. Any time management strategy will usually tell you to limit the times you check your email because anytime that little “ding” goes off, or the little box appears in the bottom right hand of your screen, it is so easy to distract us and check those messages. If you are trying to get in touch with someone quickly, remember they may not be checking their emails frequently, so this could wait in their queue until the next time they are scheduled to check their emails.
Fax. I still have a fax machine, and people expect these to be quick and efficient. I don’t think I’ve checked our fax machine in the past 2 months. Granted, my team members do that, but still, shows how much I look at that.
Snail-Mail. We all know the delay in sending a letter or package. This should be self explanatory as to why you need to pick up that phone for quick communication. Plus, with the cost of stamps and their rise, it will cost about an hours salary to send a single page in the next 3 years.
So why should you pick up the phone? Here are a few quick reasons why you need to:
- Quick exchange of information. You have a question and need information. Or you have information and need to answer a question. If the question is under a sentence, and the answer is less than 5 words, pick up the phone. It will be faster.
- Inflection or tone. There are certain situations and conversations that need to have a certain tone or inflection of the voice to get the point fully across. Last I checked, sarcasm really does well in print. You didn’t catch that sarcasm in that last line? That was dripping with sarcasm. I totally said that aloud in my head with the most sarcastic tone. Get my point? Good.
- Personal touch. A large part of my work day revolves around being on the phone. Being in credit and collections means that I have to have a ton of conversations with customers, managers, employees, owners, whoever. I can add a personal touch, defuse situations before they arise, and help understand a customers stance on the phone than in any written text.
So there are just a few reasons why not picking up the phone doesn’t work, and a few reasons why you need to pick up the phone. It helps in almost all situations. Don’t believe me? Try it in the next 7 days. Instead of carrying on a conversation via text, email, fax, mail, snapchat, whatever, pick up the phone and really talk to that person. It clears up any confusion quickly, and will help grow your relationship. I promise you it will feel better.