5 Times the Phone is Better Than Email
As much as we all may claim to detest our inboxes, that’s hardly true. In fact, we’re all obsessed with email. An average office worker sends and receives a whopping 121 emails per day and 42% of Americans even check their emails while they’re in the bathroom.
Email has become the preferred method of communication for most of us. It’s quick, it’s convenient, and you can avoid getting stuck on a lengthy phone call that wastes a good chunk of your work day.
But, does that mean that email is always the best route? Not exactly. There are still a few times when it’s much more effective—not to mention efficient—to just pick up the phone. Hey, you still remember the phone, right?
You’re stuck at a standstill, just waiting for a response from a colleague or client that you desperately need in order to get your project wrapped up. What do you do? Send yet another polite follow-up message?
Email might seem like it’s more convenient. But, if you have a time-pressing need and a deadline breathing down your neck, it’s usually better to give that person a call.
You’ll get your hands on the information you need in a timely manner, without having to clog up that person’s inbox with endless messages.
You need to share the details of a project you’re working on. You start to type out a message with all of the necessary information and, before you know it, you’re well over 500 words—and not even close to being done.
Yes, sometimes it’s nice to have things in writing—so, don’t hesitate to create an outline or document that includes that nuts and bolts information for reference.
But, when it comes to actually explaining that project or problem to another person? That’s better done over the phone. You’ll be able to provide all of the necessary context (without overwhelming the recipient with a ridiculously lengthy email!), and the other person will have the opportunity to immediately ask any important questions.
Speaking of questions, it’s usually better to have those answered over the phone.
Let’s say you just received a draft of a project from a colleague. After reviewing it, you have quite a few things you need clarification on. Could you type those all into an email and pass them along to your co-worker? Absolutely. However, then you’re just adding more to his or her plate—your colleague now feels the need to type out detailed answers in response.
Instead, it’s best to pick up the phone, make a call, and ask your questions in-person. In the end, that sort of conversation will be much more clear and productive—not to mention much easier for everyone involved.
Email might make most things easy. But, there’s one thing it makes difficult: forging a bond with somebody. In fact, with email so prevalent today, you can collaborate with someone for months without ever actually speaking to them.
In this way, there’s still a lot to be said for a voice-to-voice conversation. It feels much more personal than email, and gives you the opportunity to prove that there’s a real person beyond the email signature.
Whether you want to strengthen a relationship with a client, a networking contact, or a co-worker who’s based in a different office or state, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone. You’re sure to feel like you know that person better—even after just a brief conversation!
When you need to apologize for a wrongdoing, it’s tempting to just tap out a quick email. It saves you from needing to really put yourself out there and swallow your pride.
But, this is a somewhat selfish way to say “I’m sorry”, and it rarely seems genuine. So, if there’s something that you truly need to be remorseful for, it’s best to make your apology in-person—or, over the phone if you’re unable to be face-to-face with that person.
This same rule holds true for any sort of personal conversation—like offering a hearty “congratulations!” for example. Leaving those exchanges out of your inbox will instantly make them that much more heartfelt and personal.
Email is often convenient and fast. But, that doesn’t make it the default best option for all communication. If you find yourself in one of the above situations, do yourself—and that other person—a favor and pick up the phone. In the end, it’ll be much more effective and efficient.