About ten years ago I overheard a woman telling her friend that if you had told her in high school that in the future she would only communicate with her friends by typing short messages into a small, hand held device she would have thought taking away her telephone was torture. Fast forward to 2019 and texting and email have become standard forms of communication in business.
Texting and email can be great tools if you want to inform a large number of people at once. They are poor tools for solving problems, building relationships and effective communication. For that it’s far more effective to use the telephone. The phone allows people to hear each other’s tone of voice, ask questions, clarify understanding, and build rapport.
I frequently use the phone to get answers to my questions and solve issues in under three minutes. It would take me five minutes to craft a good email just to ask the person the questions and then wait, sometimes days, to get their response. And when was the last time you got a clear answer to all of your questions in the first email response? Calling is a far more efficient means of communication in both time and understanding.
One final benefit to using the phone, people are much more agreeable on the phone. You can use this to your advantage in negotiations and conflict resolution. It’s easy for an email recipient to read tone into an email and react negatively. It’s easy to be a jerk when you’re just typing. On the phone I control the tone they hear and can respond to their emotions.
The key take away, problems are never solved using email. They are only drawn out or escalated.