When did talking to people because so difficult? Was there a moment within the last 10 years when people decided that talking was too much work?
To connect with people, we email, Skype, Slack, DM, and text. Talking is for losers. Some people are even suggesting the telephone call is dying.
Using the telephone to speak to someone is a disruption. When the telephone rings, people are annoyed. It may be because only scammers, spammers or polling companies are calling but the telephone has become the enemy.
But here’s the thing: talking to people is way more effective than Slacking, Skyping, texting, etc.
You can communicate more clearly and faster, provide context and guide conversations with the tone of your voice. With a telephone call, what you is what you get. On the other hand, digital tools such as email or text can be misinterpreted.
In a recent article in Fast Company, TrackMaven CEO Allen Gannett wrote about a mini-experiment he conducted recently. Rather than following the “rules”, Garnett decided to ask people who emailed or texted him to jump on a call.
In that week, I had fulfilling conversations that wouldn’t have been possible through typing alone. I helped one of my customers solve a thorny issue and ended up reassuring him about some of his career worries. I’d never have heard the stress in his voice by emailing. In another case, I caught up with a CEO friend, and after answering her main question, we went back and forth on other things, including a thoughtful conversation about her business model.
While telephone calls took coordination, Gannett said it proved to be a more effective communication tool:
In fact, I found that I would often get calls back sooner than responses to emails. I think this is partly just because we’re all deluged in emails, but non-spam phone calls are increasingly rare. So the less people use the phone for ordinary work-related conversations, the more useful it may even become.
The rise of digital tools has made us lazy communicators. It easier to fire off an email than dialing a number. We think we’re connecting but it’s impersonal and digital flotsam. We’re going through the motions.
The upside to making telephone calls is not many people make telephone calls. A telephone call is an unexpected surprise. When the telephone rings (and it’s not a 1-888 or private number), it’s likely to be answered. It probably explains why cold calling is alive and well.
So here’s a challenge for you:
Resist the temptation to send an email, text or DM. Instead, pick up the telephone. You might discover that both parties like old-style communications!
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