Recently my BlackBerry completely wiped out three e-mail accounts on the device after a software update. After the disappointment set in, I recalled Tim McGraw’s hit country song “Back When.” The song is a humorous reflection on change and includes the lyrics: “We got too complicated, It’s all way over-rated, I like the old and out-dated way of life.” There was a time “Back When” a phone was just a phone. Nowadays, the phone feature of a smartphone is often neglected—even though it’s the best way to communicate. The time is ripe for revolution.
Responding to e-mails in a large inbox often creates a false sense of accomplishment
Your mind can get into an e-mail-focus only mode that can distract from the message and distract from the easiest solution: speaking to the person directly. There are times when composing an e-mail message is like worrying: it gives you something to do, but it doesn’t accomplish much of anything.
E-mail can turn into an instant message-like conversation
You’ve seen it, and probably experienced this phenomenon– when two people are on their respective computers sending a few word responses. A simple phone call avoids the cat-and-mouse game that often accompanies the e-mail turning into instant message phenomenon.
A phone call allows for the important voice nuances and tones that increase communication
Studies show that most communication is non-verbal. The way a person says something can be more important than what is actually stated. For example, it is very difficult to convey sarcasm over e-mail. One’s voice can contain more raw emotion than e-mail. It’s that simple.
There’s anticipation and sense of intrigue over a phone call that doesn’t exist with e-mail.
When an e-mail message appears in your inbox you know already who sent it. With a phone call there’s still a sense of excitement about who could be calling (at least until you see the caller ID). And…wait for it… some caller ID numbers are blocked. Try doing that with an e-mail account.
As Zack Morris and Gordon Gecko would tell you using their brick cell phones, calling is the cool way to communicate. After all, can you picture either of them sitting in front of the computer and pulling off those antics? More importantly, would they have been as effective communicators?
It’s important to recognize when it’s more appropriate to use the phone instead of e-mail and vice versa. There’s no question that E-mail is important and has its proper place, but people are neglecting the phone call at an increasingly alarming pace.
Remember, don’t be an e-mail drone. To communicate more efficiently, use the phone.