Email gets us off the hook from taking the phone off the hook.

Admit it.

When faced with getting in touch with someone you weren’t so confident about talking to, how many times have you said:  “Oh, I’ll just send them an email,” when maybe calling would have been better, faster, and/or more personal?

Let’s face it . . . while I wouldn’t trade email for a million and a half dollars, it has trained us all to be more passive and, well, lazy.  I’d even argue that email has been detrimental to developing good negotiating skills (it’s easy to ask for something when you don’t have to hear the response instantly.  It’s easy to say no to something, when you’re rejecting someone cyber-ally).
Emailing someone also makes us feel like we’re accomplishing something without ever knowing if we really are.  I feel better when I push that send button, making inquiries, checking on status, etc., but should I?
When you send an email and no one responds, is that really communication?
We took a poll at my office, and we all agreed that email has made it harder for us to pick up the phone with certain parties.  Why put yourself in a situation where you might be uncomfortable, if you can just “send an email” instead.
So at DTE, we have a new rule.  Every day, we make one phone call. . . that we don’t want to make.  It’s a variance on the famed “Do One Thing A Day To Accomplish Your Goal” treatise, but the difference is, this is something we specifically don’t want to do.
When we feel that pang in our gut that indicates we’re trying to weasle out of some direct communication that would probably serve us better and get us what we want faster, that’s when we pick up the phone.
Email is awesome.  It’s a form of technology that makes our lives a heck of a lot easier.  Kind of like the remote control.  But at times, like the remote, it may not be very healthy.
Pick up the phone.  The people you don’t want to call, are the exact people you should be calling.
And the moment you start doing it, I guarantee your phone will start ringing in return.
And that’s when the fun really begins.

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  • Tom Atkins says:

    This is so true. Starting work in the age of internet and email boom, professional phonecalling absolutely paralysed me with fear before I started learning how to do it properly. I still wrestle with it even now as it’s hard not to take the perceived easy option of an email. Fact is though, people just get so much email now that it’s the phonecall which stands out. Just be confident about it and know it’s okay to be asked a question and not know the answer immediately.

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