We’re in a world rife with technology. For many of us in the workforce, we’ve typed since we could talk, pioneered social media trends from our dorm rooms and have long since turned to Google for all of life’s questions. And although we may have “come of age” with cell phones in our hands, the phone call seems far more intimidating than sliding into a DM.
The Death Of Phone Calls
Why is that? Are we so concerned with time that we’ve found the most efficient mode of communication to be with our fingers? Is the idea of conflict so distressing that we seek to avoid it at all costs? Based on research, the perceived barriers are in fact two of the top reasons that the phone call is becoming extinct. Sure, the flatlining of the landline phone is directly correlated to the increase in smartphone use, but as of today, our iPhones still offer the phone call as a primary feature.
The personal phone call may be long past its glory days, but what about the professional call? You know, the one you make to a client, a vendor, a mentor, an employer/employee? Are these calls as dated as Mad Men’s version of Madison Avenue? Some might say yes. However, this blog is an ode to the phone call, an offering of its attributes and an opportunity to rethink the importance of verbal communication.
Phone Calls Matter.
They create and offer a connection that no amount of text on a screen can provide, and this is coming from someone who writes better than she speaks. Voices provide sound, and sound can tell us about a person, a place, a time. When combined with visuals, sound can evoke what neither can do alone.
In business, we all strive for efficiency as well as clarity, which is why the phone call should be used more often. Think about it: Often two or more emails are required to gain a response to a question, and even then, tone might be lost and lines crossed. However, if you choose to make a phone call, you’d likely spend less time waiting on an answer and more time building a relationship where you didn’t have to read between the lines.
Recently, we were finalizing a contract with a client and their lawyers. Legalese is hard enough to decipher, but add in the middlemen and email marketing speak and the waters start to muddy. So, we chose to pick up the phone. What might have been several more rounds of inbox roulette resulted in a signed scope and a warmed partnership. Proving that one call is more efficient and effective than the beloved email chain.
Raise your hand if you love conflict.
Few people enjoy conflict. However, it is part of life and it can be managed. But so often, addressing conflict requires a phone call. Even in childhood, we were taught that a note home could be hidden, but a phone call from the teacher could not. No one wants to grovel or talk about the icky stuff, yet a post-it note on your computer (a la Berger from Sex and the City) or a passive aggressive email will do little to avoid conflict. In fact, such behaviors often lead to worse outcomes and burned bridges. Professionally, that’s not a good look.
Once upon a time, we had a client break-up talk. It was hard, emotions were high, and a formal email sounded a bit safer and less vulnerable. However, we pulled up our big kid pants, scheduled a call, and discussed why it wasn’t working. And you know what? It ended positively. Sure, we parted ways, but both parties did so with kindness and professionalism.
Bonus, People Like It.
The phone call has earned a bad rap, but to be honest, when done with purpose, people actually like it. Plus, for those in the design world, as was alluded to at the beginning of the blog, when you combine words with visuals (i.e. presenting directions), you are able to foster a connection to the work that goes deeper than colors and fonts; you weave a narrative that drives emotions. So, the next time you go to draft an email, type a text, or send a DM, think about giving the phone call a try. You may find you have a client for life afterwards.
So conquer your fears and give us a call today!