Pick Up the Damn Phone
by Tim Healy
Pick up the phone! It’s simple. At least the idea is simple for me. Always has been. Connecting with people via a live phone conversation has tons of benefits. My objective with this article is to hopefully convince you that talking to a human on the phone is vastly more effective than texts, emails and social media messaging.
Please keep in mind this one fact: nothing beats face-to-face communication. I am merely trying to champion the virtues of the phone compared to other technologies.
Before you read on here, take note of a word of CAUTION. This article has the high probability of creating strife amongst the generations. I am also going to apologize in advance to some of my favorite Millennials. The following may offend.
Why is everyone so hesitant to pick up the phone? Based on my own observations the phone skills of the younger generations leaves lots to be desired. But to be fair, the lack of phone skills is reaching beyond Millennials. With the rise of texting and email came a greater dislike in making and answering phone calls. More and more people today are becoming reliant on how “easy” it is to use texts and emails. I am worried that people are becoming too comfortable relying on technology in order to avoid human contact.
The Problem with Relying on Texting for Communication
Are emails and texts quicker and more efficient? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. What I have witnessed, and you may have as well, is that emails and texts can often leave room for interpretation.
What’s wrong with just texting? You have to consider that people speak differently than they write. People also read something differently than they hear something. It is in those two differences alone that there can be a host of misinterpretations.
Something else that drives me batty, I have been a victim to many an ongoing string of emails or texts seeking clarification. My thought? PICK UP THE PHONE and talk to me. I have witnessed many email or text conversations that could have easily been rectified in a simple call compared to a litany of electronic ping pong.
It can be significantly quicker to answer someone’s questions speaking directly with them. The second great reason to #PickUpTheDamnPhone? You have a chance to build rapport. Emails and texts are painfully lacking in emotion.
The Digital Disruption Era
No matter how many exclamation points, smiley faces, thumbs up, and gold medal emojis you use, you really aren’t connecting with a human. I recently read the book, The Relationship Economy, by John DiJulius. It is a book I highly recommend for everyone to read.
In his book, DiJulius shares how we are living in what he calls the Digital Disruption Era. DiJulius writes, “Technology has provided us with unprecedented advances, information, knowledge, instant access and entertainment. We have computers, mobile phones, tablets, the internet, social media, apps and artificial intelligence – assistants like Siri and Alexa, chatbots, virtual concierges, facial recognition and self-driving cars. However, as convenient as these advances make our lives, they have also changed the way we communicate, behave and think and have led to a dramatic decline in our people skills. As a society we are relationship disadvantaged. We no longer become curious about others or eager to engage in conversations.”
DiJulius goes on to say that, “The pendulum has swung over to high tech and low touch. Those who understand that human touch is the most important part of a great customer experience will flourish. Success is increasingly about creating and building human connections.”
I don’t know about you, but that is not just a big eye-opener – it is depressing. As technology creeps ever deeper into our lives, we are losing touch with customers, friends, family and neighbors.
Embracing the Phone during COVID-19
Now, if you add COVID-19 to the mix, the ability to go face-to-face is still limited and will be for a while. Enter the phone. Or rather, welcome the phone back.
Simply put, the phone allows you to hear someone’s voice, to hear their emotion. That is powerful. It gives you the opportunity to connect on an emotional level. When you are on the phone you are more likely to ask how someone is, to ask about their vacation.
As alarming as the effects of the Digital Disruption Era are, I think it can be an amazing opportunity if you are willing to take advantage of it. It is time to be curious and eager to connect with your fellow humans.
On a business level, think of your customers. They are craving human touch. They want to work with and buy from companies that care. So, the next time you would normally send a text or email try to pick up the phone instead. Then when you have a human on the other side be curious enough to make a connection. It may very well make your day and theirs!
Check out more advice on how to be an effective sales communicator in my blog!