Pick Up The Phone
Riddle me this: What is the 100+ year-old invention that sits on your desk, that you are probably not using enough? You’ve probably guessed from the title of this blog that the answer is the telephone. The telephone was invented well over 100 years ago, yet is still a cornerstone of human interaction. People have been using phones for over a century to conduct business, but some wonder if the telephone may be losing its status as a key tool for business communication.
Over the past few years we have seen a shift in the way we communicate, not only for business, but in our personal lives as well. Computers, email, smartphones and new technologies have made it easier to communicate through a wide variety of options. From email to Skype to texting, business communication is taking on new forms.
The emergence of social media has certainly changed the way we communicate with each other as well. It’s reported that the average Facebook user spends just under eight hours a month on the site. Twitter hosts more than 250 million tweets per day, and YouTube reports four billion views per day on their site. WOW! Looks like the average American is spending quite a bit of time on social media.
While many welcome the transitions, we shouldn’t count the phone out. The phone has been a vital form of business communication for a very long time, and cannot easily be replaced. Decisions tend to be made quicker over the phone and it is certainly more personal than an email or text. Often times it’s very easy to misinterpret language or context when emailing or texting. For example, if someone is being sarcastic over the phone, it’s much more identifiable.
A few years back, Intel experimented with “Zero E-mail Friday”, which encouraged their engineers to solve problems via the phone or face-to-face. Other companies such as U.S. Cellular and Deloitte & Touche have also tried e-mail free days. There are many benefits of increased ‘face time’ and it’s important to include these types of interactions on a daily basis.
Many top US executives don’t use email. It’s widely known that Donald Trump doesn’t even have an email address. Our Presidents’ don’t use email either. Have you ever noticed that there is no computer on the Oval Office desk? Many executives (and the President!) solely use the phone and face-to-face meetings to get business done, and there is a reason why they do it. Because it works.
So my recommendation is to remember to ‘pick up the phone’ when you’re in the office. It’s an effective mode of communication that cannot easily be replaced. It will help you cement the personal connections and relationships that you have with your peers and might yield faster business results.
But, you probably already knew that.