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Pick Up the Phone or Succumb to Death by Email

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Road warriors. Remote workers. Telecommuters. The Land of Cubicles. Whatever your physical working arrangement is, the need for effective and timely communications prevails. So when the casual sashay down the hall for an impromptu conversation isn’t an option, email seems like the logical alternative – but is it really?

The Radicati Group estimates that by the end of 2019 the number of emails sent and received per day will total over 246 billion. That’s billion and 246 billion. That’s each business user averaging 126 messages daily. Let’s not even consider the added annoyance of spam messages. Pause and ask yourself: Is this a cause that I need to contribute to?

Somewhere between send and receive, we lost sight of another means of business communications: the phone call. In one telephone conversation, a bond can be forged, a problem resolved and misunderstandings averted. It might take 30 seconds or 3 minutes but odds are it will be a lot less painful than 26 emails copying eight people on something that’s potentially only tangential to your world.

Call me old school? That’s fine. One of my first jobs was in telesales so I might be uniquely qualified to know how and when to use the phone instead of hammering away on my keyboard. And that’s not to say there isn’t a time when email is appropriate. It’s invaluable when project managing a complex initiative or keeping a group updated; it borders on snarky when an audit trail is obviously being created or when the sender doesn’t have the gumption to pick up the phone.

Some would argue that being able to communicate via email (or text) has significantly advanced the speed of business. I argue no. Having a conversation person-to-person uncovers nuances and concerns more quickly while ensuring both parties agree on the intended outcomes. Email prolongs pain and suffering; a phone call gets you to a quick yes or no.

So don’t hide behind email. Leverage the sensory power of sound, as well as the opportunity to collaborate and interact in real time. Be more than words on a page. Pick up your phone.