When a Phone Call Is Better Than Email
For people of a certain age, phone calls are still the default communication method; for all of our advances in email, text messaging, and cloud based phone systems, the telephone still manages to offer something relevant, immediate, and personal. In other words, picking up the phone and dialing a number is still a big part of our collective muscle memory.
That said, all of our varied and convenient communication methods have something different to offer in different circumstances. So when does it simply make more sense to pick up the phone instead of firing off an email? Let’s take a look.
When You’re Building Relationships
It can be almost impossible to build a meaningful relationship with a new friend or colleague using just email. There’s something inherently more personal and meaningful in being able to hear someone else’s voice - some factor that’s better conducive to building trust and rapport than email could ever be.
To put it another way, email often comes across as terse or excessively businesslike. A phone conversation really gives you the opportunity to express your passions or even just make smalltalk.
When Subtlety Is Essential
We all know how poorly sarcasm and certain kinds of humor can translate to the written word. Sometimes you want to be sure that your words won’t be misunderstood or misconstrued; that’s when you pick up the phone. Text messages and emails, no matter how many emoticons you’ve thrown in, can never replace the subtle changes in a person’s voice.
When It’s Time-Sensitive
If it’s important that you get a timely response to your query, email is almost certainly not the way to go. Not everyone is terribly vigilant about checking (or responding) to their emails on a regular basis. A phone call makes sense if you’re trying to get a quick answer on something.
When Your Schedule Is Full
Anyone who spends the bulk of their working hours in front of a computer knows how time consuming it can be to sit down for the day and work through a full inbox. Checking and responding to everything that demands your attention can really be a drag on your day. Making just a few short phone calls to catch up might not just be quicker, but will also help your working relationships to thrive.
When You Need a Hybrid Approach
The thing about office phone systems is that they’re getting more advanced all the time. If you like the convenience of the inbox for keeping track of any pressing issues, but prefer to follow up with a phone call, then a new hosted phone system might provide exactly the middle-ground you’ve been looking for. Your important voicemail can be transcribed directly to your inbox, and then you can pick up the conversation on the phone from there.
When You Don’t Want to Leave a Trail
To put it simply, some conversations need to cover sensitive or personal information. Email exchanges leave a virtual paper trail - a potentially lasting record of what should have been a private conversation. Having difficult conversations over the telephone instead is not just a more personal and tactful way to go about it, but it also saves you the trouble of instructing the other party to delete their sensitive emails once the issue is resolved.