We could all probably use a little more efficiency in our young professional (YP) lives, in everything from playing the dating game to managing our workday. In order to so much as think about the possibility of a lunch break or getting home before the sun goes down, we need to make the most of every single precious hour. We’ve tried everything to save time, and in doing so we recently rediscovered the value in a good old-fashioned phone call. More YP business owners should invest in office landlines and desk phones – here’s why:
Our beloved smartphones give us too many communication options with clients and collaborators alike. Between texting (which is increasingly viewed as acceptable in business), email, social media and, finally (though often least frequently used), calling, it’s overwhelming. With a desk phone, there is one option for our already over-stimulated brains: to pick it up and speak to people. There is something powerful in the physical act of picking up and hanging up a desk phone.
It’s more efficient.
Although emails and texts have merit in certain situations, in general a phone call is probably more efficient for large amounts of information. What you can say in a five-minute phone call could take all morning of attention-breaking emails going back and forth in some cases. Email can, and often does, become slow and confusing if both parties are not willing to respond in a timely manner. And even if they do, lengthy email chains can overwhelm more than simplify. In addition, a real-time, free-flowing phone conversation may inspire questions that may not come up in an email to be asked and addressed for additional clarity. With a phone call, you can go back and forth for as long as necessary until both parties are clear and any concerns or grievances have been addressed.
It offers less ambiguous communication.
A phone call allows for clearer communication in most cases. We have all experienced instances in both our personal and professional lives where communication gets misconstrued through lack of tonality and emotion. You learn a lot more about the thoughts and opinions of the person on the other end of the phone in a way that can’t be achieved in an email. All of this leaves less room for misunderstanding.
It’s more accountable.
Plain and simple, a phone call holds receivers to a higher degree of accountability than an email would. The latter allows us and others to play “hard to get” with potential mates and clients alike in terms of delayed responses, the “I didn’t get the message” excuse, and the no-reply to emails in which it is ambiguous as to whether a response is invited. With a phone call, it’s pretty black and white; they either answer or they don’t, and it either rings or goes straight to voicemail. Email has become a convenient and relatively safe platform for issue-avoidance, and if an issue is addressed, it is easier, less intimidating, and less confrontational to have critical issues and concerns sent over email than a live one-on-one dialogue.
Some things are better ear-to-ear.
Certain conversations are better left without a digital trail. You don’t know who the person may be around when your text or email arrives in the palm of their hand, or on whose eyes it could ultimately fall. Think of the times you have typed an email in “reaction mode” and instantly regretted it the second you hit send. When it comes to things like grievances with another coworker, it may make for a more honest dialogue when there is not a written record.
It is better for relationships.
There is no reason why you can’t call people in business and, much like the increasingly extinct handwritten note, most people on the receiving end appreciate the effort when digital communication is so readily available. Actually phoning clients, colleagues, partners, suppliers and contacts can prove much more personal and effective in terms of relationship building, networking, brainstorming and clear communication. A phone call allows a different degree of warmth and personality with clients. Wouldn’t you rather hear a laugh out loud than read an ‘LOL’?
Top photo courtesy Etsy