Pick Up The Phone and Dial

Email is easy.

I prefer email to the phone in almost every situation.Almost.

Woman dialing a cell phone

Sometimes You Have to Talk

Email is terrific for confirming dates, getting quick replies, and starting a dialogue.

Email is not good for picking up on subtleties about situations and building trust. Unless we’re extra careful with our messages, email can be easily misunderstood by all parties involved.

Pick up the phone when:

  • A good sum of money is involved and agreement must be reached. You can negotiate in one phone call what might otherwise take 13 emails.
  • There has been a misunderstanding. A quick phone call can clear up a whole mess of good intentions in your emails.
  • It seems too good to be true. It’s nice to trust everyone, but you will learn things during a conversation that might be accidentally omitted from an email.
  • You need to get to the bottom of the situation fast. Emails are disruptive. You have to revisit the situation with each missive, which interrupts your work flow. How much easier it is to talk once and get on with your work!

The next time you feel frustrated by email correspondence that seems to be going nowhere, remember this suggestion: pick up the phone and dial!

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9 comments to Pick Up The Phone and Dial

  • Alyson, What is the reason that so many of us would rather email than make a phone call? I’m guilty of this as well. You say email is easy, but so is picking up the phone and talking to someone. I’d be interested in both your and your reader’s response.

  • I prefer the phone right of the bat. I find that in email a series of questions or issues are generally only partly addressed, prompting the need for more email. At that point, I always worry that I will be perceived as too pushy.
    I still use email though. I find that, unless a large amount of money is involved, people are reluctant to share their phone number.

  • Email or Phone? I can email to people all over the world for very little cost and not worry about my lack of linguistic skills as the recipient’s computer is probably able to translate the message…And I can see clearly what I’m doing on screen!

    Phone? I used to love it…but now I cannot use it as I’m now deaf. Here in the UK an answer phone is an extinct device, much the same as the land-line telephone.

    The mobile/cell phone? It suffers me being deaf and the buttons & screen being too small. I have to put on the reading glasses to text! My vision is also in decline…

  • I think you’re right about the phone but I’ve learned to be careful as I don’t always process what I’m told verbally correctly. (Very much a visual learner and need to see things written down) In my case I have to back up the phone call with an email.

  • I must confess that this is my biggest weakness when it comes to follow up. I can’t explain why though because every time I have forced myself to try a phone call to get something resolved, it works! I usually try emailing and/or texting before I have to make that call. Perhaps it’s because I feel more in control when I’m crafting the words on an email and on the phone you have to be more prepared for the unexpected. There’s no nervousness if it’s somewhat confrontational or uncomfortable when emailing or texting. I hate to say it but although it is more personal to make the call, it makes me nervous sometimes and I know it’s something I must overcome if I plan on becoming more successful.
    Thank you for bringing it up as I continue to look for ways to grow!

  • I admit that pretty much all of my communication with clients is by email. I like it because it creates a paper trail which helps both parties remember the details for the project.

    BUT, there have been times when picking up the phone was necessary. Everytime I have called a client for this or that, they are surprised and grateful that I did.

    Human contact is very important in a world that has become so technical and impersonal. People talking to real people, not technology, goes along way in building relationships

  • I do pet portraiture and most of the ordering is done on-line via shopping carts, and then proofing e-mails are sent. I learned years ago that to do design changes the very best way to control the process and reign in my clients was to make them call me to discuss changes. In the early days I allowed folks to e-mail me their design change needs and it was a mess. Not only did I miss things by skimming, they often tended to communicate poorly by e-mail and some how they thought the change process was easy and “magical”, which only served to make them want more so called “quick fixes”. By talking on the phone I get to ask the right questions to understand what they are wanting to see.

  • This is a great reminder for me to pick up the phone, because I need a packet from another artist and the emails just haven’t gotten through to him. But to Fiona, I think the main reason many of us tend to turn to emails first is because it IS less personal, and thus takes less of a personal commitment on our part. Not that I think this is a good excuse, but email, by its nature, is less personal. When I phone someone, I need to think about the time of day (for them and me to talk), and give much more attention to the inflection of voice (theirs and mine). It just takes more effort. But I agree Alyson, the phone calls get the job done well, and we shouldn’t hesitate to use that tool.