Sometimes You Should Just Pick Up the Phone
Just this morning, I encountered a situation where at least five emails could have been reduced by the process of picking up a phone and talking to the person involved.
Here are some reasons why:
- Everything looks worse in black and white
- It’s easier to answer the questions involved on an interactive basis
The pandemic has increased the tendency to communicate via email. We have become loath to pick up a phone. Slowly, the isolation of the pandemic will wear off and we will become more social again. However, before you hit that email send button, take a moment to (1) breathe and reread that scathing email before you hit the send button (or not), and (2) consider picking up the phone. Sometimes, you should just pick up the phone. Of course, you can always follow up a call with an email.
Recently, this was exactly the situation I faced. A new member of HALMA (Houston Association of Lab Managers-serves Houston Galveston and areas surrounding) had questions about the organization. Once I got on the phone, the topic of the conversation became more clear and the live interaction resolved the member’s questions in a timely and more direct manner.
To add to this topic, there is the school of thought that says documentation never hurts. It is important to consider the importance of keeping a paper trail. This way when a question comes up several months later, you can refer to a confirmation email or your notes. In the situation above, I went back to my sent files (I keep one for every year plus current) and found emails I had sent to the person in question. I carefully used those support documents to prove the point we were discussing. Note, I said "carefully", delicate use of previous communication can be key - but that's another post.
Lastly, a comment about sales by the phone versus email. I am currently answering a call to someone who I hit a "request information" button for on LinkedIn. Ten minutes later, he is still asking questions. After about five minutes, I think, I never should have asked. Once you do get on the phone, be mindful of your colleague or customer’s time.
Submitted by Rebecca Rosas, Ph.D.
ALMA Board Member, HALMA Director, VP of Strategic Planning, Texmark Chemical, Inc.