In Praise of the Telephone

PhoneFotoliathumbEmail has its place. But whenever possible, I prefer to use the telephone. Indeed, the telephone is one of the best business tools I know.

First, it can boost efficiency. In my experience, it can take more time to compose a message than it can take to talk in “real time” on the telephone. And when it comes to keeping projects on track, a phone call often gets me the answers I need quickly.

Second, the phone breaks what I like to call the “email chain of misunderstanding.” No matter how carefully we construct an email, it can still be misinterpreted, leading us to work on the wrong priorities. Some emails are difficult to decipher, which triggers multiple email messages as we seek clarification. With a single phone call, we can eliminate ambiguity.

Third, the phone has been irreplaceable in helping me build long-lasting, supportive relationships. I have clients I’ve never met in person but with whom I have worked for more than a decade. The phone has allowed us get to know each other. I’ve learned about their working styles and priorities, the way they speak, and the subtleties that just don’t translate to email. The real-time conversations we’ve had have helped us forge deeper connections.

That said, I use email daily. I send writing pieces to clients for review, respond to questions, and set appointments. I find email particularly useful for projects that require a “paper trail” – such as a discussion about portfolio performance for a regulatory shareholder report.

But for direct and immediate interaction, I prefer the telephone. I’d be happy to tell you more. Just give me a call.

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