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When should you pick up the phone versus sending an email/text/chat?

Have you ever sat with your screen open writing words and then deleting them, to only write the same thoughts again and again? Better yet, have you agonized how to word something?

If that's happened to you, here's a simple trick: pick up the phone.

In this day and age, text, email, chat has taken over our lives. Our natural inclination is to start writing (trust us, we're guilty of this too!) versus picking up the old fashioned phone to discuss something. Often times, written words can easily be misinterpreted; you can miss out on the personal interaction with another person, the opportunity to relationship build, and you lose the tone of voice as part of the delivery.

There are common instances where you should rely on the phone versus writing an email or text:

1) When it's important!: If what you have to say is super important (ie., urgent, critical to accomplish something, an emergency) dial a number versus writing a text.

2) If what you're saying is complex: Complex ideas often result in a need for complex dialogue. Complexity is much better communicated verbally than through written word.

3) To show appreciation or apologize: There is nothing better than a personalized thank you or apology. While one way to accomplish that is through writing, imagine a world where we picked up the phone (or better yet, in person) and engaged in a personal conversation to acknowledge how special someone was to us or to sincerely acknowledge a wrongdoing or shortcoming. Trust us, this goes a long way.

4) If it's personal to you or the receiver (this includes feedback/coaching): There is nothing more impersonal than an email or written dialogue. If you have something personal to share (whether it's personal for you or someone else), give the benefit of the receiver to hear your voice and sincerity. Most importantly, if you have coaching to provide, doing so verbally (and especially in person) has a significantly more positive impact and leaves less room for interpretation.

We know that in this day and age speed and production might seem like the name of the game, and the best way to accomplish that is to jet off emails to everyone you on your to-do list. It certainly can be helpful for timeliness, but we encourage you to think about the potential downstream negative impacts to your ability to build, preserve and harness working and personal relationships.

And remember, when in doubt on how to communicate - pick up the phone and save the email for later.

Shine on,

Jaclyn & Laura


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