Do you want to increase productivity and make more money?
PICK UP THE PHONE AND MAKE A CALL
Recently I received an email from one of my larger clients containing two questions:
1) can I get “A”
2) how soon?
It was sent after 9 pm. I wanted nothing more than to address their needs ASAP. One problem stood in my way. I had several clarifying questions and without getting specific answers I could spend hours working in the wrong direction.
This prompted this blog……when does it make sense to just pick up the phone? I understand how important communication is in business. I own a business; I help businesses improve their efficiency. I know what produces results.
I could see that it wasn’t going to be effective for me to send back a long email asking clarifying questions, guessing at details. Instead I picked up the phone and called the person. In three minutes I had my clarifying questions answered and I was able to email back the details they were looking for. I saved a lot of time and headaches by making that phone call.
A couple of days later I was hanging out with my one year old grandson. As he was working so hard to communicate with us by pointing, leading us to what he wanted, etc to give him things that he could not verbalize, it reminded me of that email and how with so many options for communication we are managing to use less and less actual words. Have we opted out of oral communication? While using email it may feel like less words is better, but that only works if you have an intimate knowledge of the task beforehand. I’ll also address texting which has its place but in my humble opinion it simply isn’t suited for business nor is contact via facebook or any other social media platforms.
Let’s look at communication in 2016 and update the rules a little.
According to a recent study, 85 percent of employees use more than one device to communicate at work, with 32 percent of those using three or more devices.
Ask yourself this….. now that we have so many tools to communicate (phone, email, text, IM, postal mail, social media, and video conferencing) have we improved our communication?
I believe we have, however we may have also forgotten the value of some of the classics. Here are the ground rules I try to live by.
- Immediate and/or Urgent Needs – Pick up the phone and call. You don’t email 911 for help.
- 30 minutes to 1 hour response time – CALL the person. Have a brief, direct and purposeful conversation. It gives you a chance to build a relationship. You could brighten someone’s day. Conversation via phone can bring about a whole new direction for a project. You will have decreased errors caused by individual interpretation and more “Buy in” from all parties because they will have had a chance to verbalize their needs and opinions.
- 2 to 4 hour response time – TEXT the person. This gives someone time to know you need something quickly, but not so fast that they have to drop everything this second just for you. Remember texting carries no tone and can be misinterpreted easily. Texting has its place but not in business.
- Within 24 hours – EMAIL the person. Email is the swamp of communication. You have to weed through the clutter to find the really important emails. Make sure your subject line is to the point and direct about the action that is needed.
- 1 week or longer – MAIL a letter or card to the person. Snail mail still has a place in business. When you hand write someone a letter it is far more personal and builds trust and relationships.
Here are a few more numbers to think about.
Results show 44 percent of people use their computer most often for business communication, with smartphones second at 36 percent and desktop phones and tablets coming in further behind at 16 percent and 5 percent, respectively.
A whopping 95 percent of those surveyed say they plan to use business communication tools instead of in-person meetings, including email (48 percent), mobile (20 percent), desk phones (10 percent), text messaging (8 percent) and web meetings (8 percent). The meeting is a dying communication tool.
If you would like to read a very in depth article I would highly recommend this one. Communication-in-2015-text-voice-video-or-in-person. http://www.inc.com/jayson-demers/communication-in-2015-text-voice-video-or-in-person.html
Do we fear conflict to the point that we don’t call and talk to people anymore? I hope not.
I really value the convenience of calling people and getting things done quickly.
Maybe after reading this I have inspired you to try picking-up the phone and giving people a call.
1a – http://www.cmswire.com/cms/social-business/4-trends-in-workplace-communication-infographic-027762.php
2b – http://www.businessinsider.com/when-to-email-text-or-call-2014-2
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