Bob’s day isn’t starting well. A big customer just sent him an angry email with an impossible demand. “Don’t they know that this is just not possible?” He wonders. “How can they be so unreasonable?” Two minutes later, another email pings in. It’s a colleague responding to the seemingly never-ending email thread of what should be a very simple issue. Once again, she appears to be totally missing the point.
He sits back and ponders how to answer each of them. But just as he leans forward to begin typing in his first response, an idea occurs to him. He picks up the telephone and calls his customer. Three minutes later, everything is resolved. It turns out that the customer wasn’t unreasonable or angry at all – there was just a misunderstanding on the tone and message of the email. Buoyed by his success, Bob picks up the phone again and calls his colleague. Sure enough, it turns out that she did indeed get the point, everything was sorted out in moments, and the two had a good laugh about it.
Sound familiar? Sure it does. We’ve all experienced this at least once in our careers.
Email long ago overtook the telephone as the medium of choice in business, and has proven to be a wonderful information sharing tool. Unfortunately, however, email proves time and again to be a less than stellar communication tool. It’s great for connecting to others. It’s useless for connecting with others.
Want to be more effective and efficient in your communications and your work relationships? Try picking up the phone. You’ll be surprised at the difference it will make.
“A few words on the phone beats a few hundred in an email every time.” Shaun Belding