Make a Call, Take a Meeting
Most business is done by email these days. And why not? It’s convenient and it’s non-intrusive — you can write or respond to emails on your own schedule. I’ve noticed that many of us have even become phone-averse and actively avoid the phone in favor of email. But I think something has been lost when we do our business primarily through written, electronic communication.
Email is the least personal way we communicate; when you can’t see someone’s face or hear their voice, many layers of nuance are imperceptible. So I’m trying to use the phone more, even though many people see the phone as an intrusion. Most of the time, we end up scheduling phone calls – it’s a crap shoot to just pick up the phone and call, since most of the time you’ll get voicemail. But I think it’s worth the effort. Some conversations work so much better when you can talk rather than write back and forth.
I have a lot of meetings via Skype and Google+ Hangouts (video chat). It’s better than email and even one step better than the phone.
But every time I have an actual in-person meeting with someone, it reminds me that face-to-face beats all. Yesterday I was lucky to have four in-person meetings with people I regularly have contact with through email and phone. It felt like such a productive day, because when sitting across from someone, connections are made that would never be made any other way. The conversation can flow in ways it never would in email or on the phone, and great things can come out of it.
I’ll still be using email for my day-to-day business, but I’m going to be more proactive about making phone calls and scheduling in-person meetings as often as possible. I think the more we connect with one another in real ways, the better off we are.
What do you think? Is a movement back toward more personal forms of communication coming? Which do you prefer, phone, email, Skype?