In this day and age of electronic communication, social media, IM, text, email, etc., it has become too easy to forget the value of (or avoid) face to face or even voice to voice communication. Are we denying ourselves the benefits of real connections, negatively impacting our relationships both professionally and personally?
I was recently put in the middle of an email exchange where a prospective customer, we’ll call Bob, asked for competitive information to be ‘sent’. Sales person, we’ll call Julie, promptly replied to the email and sent the information as requested. Bob emailed me frustrated that Julie didn’t spend any time on the response, that she just sent information. Both Bob and Julie failed in this exchange. If either would have picked up the phone, the frustration could have been avoided and it’s possible that Julie lost a sale due to her prompt but hasty response.
I have been guilty of leaning too heavily on email for communication. As a past sales professional our CRM system would show past due activities, they would haunt me (and my manager). Unfortunately, I found it quick and easy to clean up my overdue tasks by sending an email. Thankfully what I learned, after my wise manager challenged me, making a phone call produced substantially better results. By calling and actually speaking with my contact I was able to read my prospect, get objections handled, shorten up the sales cycle and I ultimately sold more. My emails, 97% of the time went unanswered, and probably unread.
On the flip side, I have a good friend that will only call me. Even if our conversation may begin with a text, she makes it a point to call instead of respond via text. I have sincerely grown to appreciate her effort. I enjoy our conversations, we hear each other’s emotions (usually laughing), get all the questions and answers out in one exchange and hang up feeling connected, a real relationship.
How often have you written an email, read it, re-wrote it, read it, re-wrote it, (maybe a couple more times) and finally sent it only to have the person on the other end still need clarification? Or how about a book? I’ve belonged to book clubs where everyone reads the same book. We get together to discuss it and all 8 of us have a different interpretation of what the author intended.
No one, I repeat, no one is so good that they can clearly communicate thoughts or emotions through the written word. Bold statement I know, but why? Because the person reading it is at least 50% of the equation. Their interpretation, how they perceive your written word will be based on their mood, experiences and worldview.
My daughter is a Dr. of Psychology and she spends countless hours helping individuals communicate. She expects her time spent teaching communication skills (like talking face to face) to exponentially increase in the coming years. This due to social media and our digital communication methods today. Think of your kids!
I can hear the argument, “there is a time and place for social media, email, text, IM”. While I agree, as I will continue to use social media and text, before I use it I try to ask myself these questions:
- What is my desired outcome?
- Would a phone call expedite the outcome?
- What am I truly avoiding?
- Is sending an email or text making me more productive or am I just checking off a box?
- What could I gain or lose by making the call or having that face to face conversation?
- What will I gain or lose by using social media or sending an email, text, IM?
Are you willing to risk the potential big sale or a valued relationship by leaving the interpretation of your written word in the hands of someone else? What are you waiting for, pick up the phone and call that person you’ve been texting or emailing, you’ll both be glad you did.
This written blog is subject to your interpretation. I would love to hear about your own experiences. Feel free to give me a call or you can respond in text below, I look forward to it.