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Time to Hang Up the Phone? 9 May 2008

Filed under: Small Business — worddocdooley @ 12:08pm
Tags: , , , , ,

There is a great debate going on over at Flying Solo’s blog on email versus phone. And let’s not even get started on texting as a business tool.  😉

I personally prefer email. Perhaps that’s because I’m a ‘typical’ writer; fairly eloquent on paper, but face to face or over the phone..!

What I particularly like about email is that it allows me to receive instructions by email that I can, if need be, print off and re-read, ticking off items as I work through them. Moreover, if there is some ambiguity or lack of clarity in the email author’s words, I can reply to the email highlighting that which I don’t understand. Far too often, things can be misconstrued or forgotten when communicating over the phone.

In essence, for me, having a ‘virtual paper trail’ means I don’t overlook or misinterpret that which may have been said (or not quite) over the phone.

That’s not to say I totally ignore the phone. Indeed, it can be a very useful tool, and at times certainly more direct than email. But, as a home-worker, what I have found that if I answer every phone call as it comes in, I wouldn’t ever get any project work done. When working on a client project, it’s important to have focus . . . and that means no interruptions of any kind. Hence, the answerphone is by next best friend.  

What about you? Are you a phonephobe? Do you hate email as a business tool? Perhaps you can’t live without it, and work with clients one-on-one almost exclusively by email consultation… Do tell! I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts.

 

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7 Responses to “Time to Hang Up the Phone?”

  1. alicedesigns Says:

    I disagree. Emails can easily be misconstrued because the reader cannot interpret your tone – the inflections in your voice can say a thousand things without you actually saying them.

    Phone calls also are a more personal approach and can be used to form firm relationships – excellent for marketing and networking purposes. As for forgetting what to say – if you had written down a list of items or questions to say before picking up the phone, collated over a period of days maybe, then your call would be therefore more efficient and effective.

    Good friendships can be created and problems solved there and then on the phone – you don’t get that special feedback through email because it’s so impersonal.

    If you’re frightened about using the phone, lots of practise will put that right – the more you do it, the easier it gets, and you soon realise it’s not so bad out there…

  2. Hi Alice

    Thanks for participating!

    I agree: emails can be terribly impersonal, especially when sending ‘form-letter emails’. BUT I don’t think all are bad…

    I myself take great care to ensure that every email, within reason, is as personal and has as ‘light’ a touch as possible. Often, clients have hired me on the basis of receiving my emails alone, so that can’t be bad!

    I’m told that my emails convey a certain professionalism as well as friendly personality. If only they could see my face when I’m writing them. OK, that last bit was a joke.

    I also agree in that there can be a great rapport with the right telephone skills. Even so, everything is said in the spur of the moment when using the phone (BTW, having a script is a great idea, and I have used many, but they can come across as stilted and, well, scripted!), and there if often no time for reflection as there is with email.

    Where I personally think email comes out tops is that these days we’re so busy with so many pressing things, and a phone call (or 20 as I used to typically get in any one day) can just be one thing too many. I know many busy execs and clients who just can’t be doing with people phoning at will. When I was a journalist, the phone used to be my saviour and lifeblood. When I was an editor, it was the bane of my life. That’s when I started to communicate primarily by email.

    Perhaps the solution is to set aside a specific time when one can focus on taking and making phone calls. They we’d all be more receptive. What do you think?

    Overall, I believe the two can complement one another very well. But I will still prefer email. That’s because I’m a writer! 🙂

  3. Bob Evans Says:

    i vote e-mail!!!

    I’m one of those who get more done with e-mail. besides, who needs to be interrupted 15x day with phone calls that don’t make sense!!!!!!

    okay, i hear ya: you cannot totally ignore the phone but to say its better than e-mail is missing the point. they can co-exist, but e-mail is one of the most efficient ways of communicating. Sure, make a quick call to re-schedule an appointment, but e-mail is the way to go!!!

  4. Rotational Says:

    Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Rotational.

  5. Jason Says:

    I’m for email too. Mainly due to the fact that I can send an email, and the recipient knows that he doesn’t need to reply immediately, therefore I’m not interrupting what they’re doing.

    • Hi Jason

      Thanks for stopping by and your useful comment. I totally agree with you — email is a far less intrusive medium than the telephone. The only problem is, as i see it, is making sure the email gets past the spam filters. A growing problem that is spoiling an otherwise VERY effective means of marketing AND communication.

      NB: Please note my NEW blog address (I haven’t posted to this one for quite some time now):

      http://blog.mediaminister.co.uk

      Take care!

  6. You know… it depends on the business function (Typical, Right?). Coming from a sales background, I prefer the phone because there are cues in a phone conversation you can get when looking for feedback and such, that are masked with email.

    Your advantages with email are huge as well, So I think a good phone call with a follow up email would prove to be the best professional practice.

    Thanks for the post.


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