Twice this week, I’ve had to remind sophisticated clients that you can pick up the phone when you need information:
- In one case, a client who’s applying for an academic job realized that she could get an inside track on what they were looking for by asking the acting department head.
- Another client, who’d just launched a great Kickstarter campaign, realized that calling her backers to thank them in person might result in more support.
Why is this simple skill — picking up the phone to find something out or convey a personal message — becoming so hard to remember?
Probably because we’re so used to using other technologies. Instead of picking up the phone, we tend to:
- Catch up with friends on social media;
- Tweet to share opinions and resources; and
- Email a request for something, even if we need it right away.
Texting and eMails Don’t Replace the Phone Call
Don’t get me wrong, I love written contact.
I love that, several years ago when my daughter was in Cali, Colombia with her best friend, they texted me to ask for a pancake recipe.
And I love that my clients, who speak all over the world, can shoot me quick emails about how well it went!
But sometimes, you gotta just pick up the phone and speak to a colleague or friend in person. Examples of those times include when:
- Repeated emails don’t get a response;
- You’re on a tight deadline, and need info now;
- You’re feeling blue, and could use to be reminded that other people care about you; or
- The topic at hand is delicate (or there’s already been a misunderstanding), and you need to hear the other person’s reactions in real time.
Use Your Telephone Skills, and They’ll Improve
These are just some of the many situations that will benefit from the real-time voice-to-voice contact.
And if you’re concerned that your phone skills have gotten rusty, don’t worry; as with all things public speaking, you’ll build your skills by using them.
So next time you need help, or just plain human connection, trying picking up the phone.
Something special might just happen!