Remember the Telephone?

By Sue Voyles / December 12, 2016 /

It’s the “the next best thing to being there.” (1970s Bell Telephone Co. TV ad.)

photo_18375_20100618-1-300x225I just called to say …” (From the song, I Just Called to Say I Love You, written, produced and performed by Stevie Wonder in 1984.)

These are all related to the telephone. Yes, remember the telephone? Before the cell phone, the telephone was a very important piece of technology for many years, especially in business. But now we have turned our attention to email and texting and sometimes it seems to me that few people use the phone to talk to each other anymore. Instead, the phone is used for surfing the internet, streaming videos, listening to music, checking Facebook, sending and reading emails, and of course, texting. Pretty much everything except making phone calls!

A business acquaintance told me recently that he called his client to set up an appointment. His client commented that it was so easy to set up the meeting via phone – “it took only two minutes versus four or five emails.” And that made me wonder why aren’t people using the phone more often? There are some great advantages to verbal communication via the phone. For example, you can’t hear a person’s tone of voice by email or text, but you can hear it when you talk on the phone. And let’s be honest, tone of voice can communicate A LOT of information.

It seems that it’s becoming a standard business practice for people to believe that they’re too busy to talk on the phone. Instead they just shoot off an email — sometimes without thinking it through (and that’s a whole other blog topic in itself).

So here are four reasons I think we should use the phone to talk more often:

  • 1. It’s more personal.
  • 2. It’s more efficient. Instead of the 3, 4 or 5 emails it takes to set up and confirm a meeting, a single five-minute phone call could wrap it all up.
  • 3. It may also make people feel a lot better about – and more effectively manage – -their email, which they see piling up higher and higher.
  • 4. Talking to people on the phone builds a better relationship. And ultimately, aren’t we all trying to create better relationships with our employees, customers and vendors?

So try it sometime. Just pick up that phone, dial a number and talk.
–Sue Voyles