Getting back to Communication Basics

Posted by on March 9, 2010 in Blog | 0 comments

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Isn’t technology wonderful? I can sit in my office all day (when I’m not speaking to an audience) and communicate to my heart’s content with the entire world via my blog, e-mail, twitter and Skype. My wife doesn’t understand this – she doesn’t understand that I would rather do it this way than use the more traditional method of picking up the phone and calling someone.

Of course I have a valid reason – I spend most of my time in front of audiences where I can’t answer the phone so I want to make people used to communicating with me in other ways. But what’s your excuse?

It seems that with all the new and varied ways we have of communicating with each other, we’re doing less of it. Not less in terms of the sheer volume of communication, but certainly WAY less in terms of quality. We’re sending more snail-mail in a day than we did in the year of 1964, were pumping out 2 million e-mails per second, and making more landline phone calls per day than we did in the year of 1980. And that’s a tough statistic to swallow.

I’ve been slowly trying to use the phone less – rather using twitter, Skype chat and “traditional” e-mail because that’s easy for me. I’m “out of phone contact” for most of the day when I’m presenting, but every now and then I’m forced to go back to basics. By that I mean that I’m without a laptop / computer at the moment and doing all the typing and e-mailing on my Blackberry is difficult and cumbersome. So this morning I got back on the horn.

And the results were nothing short of spectacular. Speaking to people; clients, suppliers and colleagues, just makes all the difference. Hearing the voice on the other side, listening to the emotion, and feeling the message has refreshed old relationships and created energy for the rest of the day. Hell, I even managed a cold call or two – with success.

So I want to leave you with 5 reasons to avoid e-mail, and 5 reasons to pick up the phone again.

5 Reasons to avoid E-mail

1. It’s time consuming – it takes much longer to type an e-mail than it does to have a quick conversation.
2. If you’re too creative with your title (to stand out from the other 200 mails your receiver will be getting) your message is likely to get caught in the spam filters.
3. E-mails can be easily misread and misunderstood.
4. Vast amount of e-mail is creating problems for IT departments when it comes to bandwidth and data storage. There is no need to ever e-mail the person sitting next to you, or to copy in every manager in your company to cover your arse.
5. E-mails have a tendency to lie waiting in inboxes – particularly when it concerns a touchy issue, recipients can easily let them lie unopened. The immediacy of a phone call goes a long way to resolving issues in a timely manner.

5 Reasons to make that call.

1. Connecting with people lifts your mood – this has been scientifically proven!
2. Calling your client / supplier / prospective client creates a personal touch – and that is severly lacking in today’s automated business world. When last, for example, did you get a hand-written note?
3. You tone of voice reveals far more about your disposition than any e-mail ever could. This allows both parties to quickly gauge the mood and therefore appropriate responses.
4. Taking a phone call allows people to feel important – especially when you take a bit of time to be personable during the conversation instead of just charging into business.
5. Making a phone call gives you an opportunity to relax at your desk instead of being continually hunched over your computer. This stimulates blood flow and improves the length of time you can concentrate.

So when all is said and done, you can probably save a rainforest by making a phone call rather than sending an e-mail that will end up being printed. Let’s get talking again and get the conversations flowing.

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