Let’s talk about the phone.
No no no! Don’t panic, I didn’t say “Let’s talk ON the phone” just… well, let’s talk about talking on the phone. I know you hate it. Everyone seems to hate. I hate it too, kind of (I mean, I will open a computer and fire up a browser to order a pizza rather than phoning the order in) except… I actually secretly kind of DON’T hate it. Not really. Not all the time at least.
I do hate just chatting on the phone. It’s hard for me to call people like my family or my boyfriend and chitchat. I just would rather do that kind of social communication in person – or even via videochat. I like seeing people’s faces whenever possible. I’m an introvert who really likes people. Go figure.
But then there’s the other extreme: I really prefer written communication. Email is my jam! IM is awesome! Post-its: totally acceptable. Some of that is because I’m a visual learner which means that when I see something written down I tend to remember it better than if someone just tells it to me. And in the workplace I like having a history of decisions or actions that I can refer back to in, say, years to understand why we might have done something that now, so much later, seems … kind of stupid.
Then there’s the middle: sometimes, it’s better – SO MUCH BETTER – to just PICK UP THE PHONE.
Building a relationship (or, repairing one?): pick up the phone.
Building consensus around an issue and need to resolve it: pick up the phone.
Talking past someone: pick up the phone.
So many things could be sorted out if we just talked to one another. That isn’t to say that sending a follow up “Just confirming what we discussed in our call” isn’t necessary – it often is. And sometimes you get off a call worse of than when you started. But relationships are so important in any business and talking to someone remains the best way to build them and if you can’t do that in person, please pick up the phone every once in a while.
But let’s also be clear: my god there’s no excuse for leaving a voicemail.