Can You Just Message Me? When To Make The Call

 

In our technologically driven world, a large percentage of the population have abandoned their verbal communication skills, or think they are far too important to pick up the phone, or respond to a phone call with an actual call back.  There are circumstances, however, when you should absolutely pick up the phone, both professionally and personally, instead of just “sending a message.”  What are those circumstances?

Recently, I went back and forth with a professional colleague 37 (yes THIRTY SEVEN) times via email before I picked up the phone to chat it out. What elapsed over several days via email was discussed and resolved via phone in a matter of minutes.

Why are we so hesitant to pick up the phone nowadays?  I realize most people don’t bother to answer their phones anymore, no less return a phone call, but aren’t they’re just some circumstances when a phone call is much more efficient/useful/productive?

In our technologically driven world, a large percentage of the population have abandoned their verbal communication skills, or think they are far too important, to pick up the phone, or respond to a phone call with an actual call back. BUT, even if the other person never returns the favor, here are five circumstances when you should absolutely pick up the phone, both professionally and personally, instead of just “sending a message.”

  1.  You have bad news, or information the recipient is not going to want to hear.  Listen, I get it.  These conversations are hard enough to have even when you type them instead of saying them out loud, but there is a level of basic human decency that I think is severely lacking when someone sends a message to express something negative instead of calling me.  I also get a LOT more worked up receiving a message with bad news, instead of receiving a phone call with the news. Over the phone there is the opportunity to discuss, to resolve, to allow both participates to VENT.  That opportunity isn’t available through text message, chat or email. Take the high road: make the call.  This includes: resignations (yo, not cool for an email, no matter what type of workplace you’re leaving or on what terms), breakups (this feels like it should go without saying, but alas, I STILL hear about this happening), deaths (whether it is of people or business partnerships), and apologies.
  2. You have really good news, or information the recipient will want to hear.  One of the things we have relinquished in our society of typed communication is the sharing of human emotion. Happiness is contagious.  Spread that shit. Pick up the phone when you have good news to share so the other person can HEAR your happy and SHARE in that. Imagine if we all walked around a tad more connected by positive instead of negative emotion.
  3. You are seeking information.  My husband calls me the interrogator.  I always have ten follow up questions to anything he tells me, and he generally has zero answers to any of those ten questions.  Why not alleviate your desire for more information by just calling to get all the information you need? You will likely get even more information than you knew you should have asked about, and are way better situated to make quick and informed decisions.  This is also prevents misunderstanding…
  4. You sense a misunderstanding.  badassladybosses, NIP THIS IN BOTTOM AND NIP IT FAST.  Some of the quickest routes to anger, resentment, and general discontent (from a former litigator, LAWSUITS too) start with a very simple misunderstanding.  I know it’s easier just to let these things go sometimes, but if you’re going to hit reply and respond, just pick up the phone and respond that way instead. Chances are you will clear up any ill will before it is formed, and the person you are calling will be more inclined to do the same with you, and others, should future misunderstandings arise. Now, I don’t have the exact stats on this, but I’m pretty sure a few office disagreements, family feuds, hell even a few wars, could have been prevented this way!
  5. You have an urgent or complex matter to discuss.  If you can foresee the purpose of your communication is going to take more than 3 or 4 messages back and forth, and/or there is a good chance of misunderstanding due to the complexity of what you are communicating, save yourself (and the person you’re communicating with) the time and effort and just pick up the phone.  You may even start with, “I was going to send you an email/text, but there was a lot of information to discuss and I needed a quick answer,” to alleviate any potential animosity your call-answerer may greet you with. Remember, the person you are calling has the option to decline your phone call if they don’t have the time or desire to talk to you in the moment you call.  Leave a message.

Having trouble embarking on this antiquated form of communication called “talking”? Don’t worry, you are not alone.  But, it doesn’t get any easier by not doing it! Make a script for yourself if you’re nervous, practice making calls more often, and make your toughest phone calls first thing every day so you don’t procrastinate or miss someone who has already left for the day.

Save your emails and texts for shorter and lighter questions, comments and issues – handle the heavy stuff like the badassladybosses you are.

Whitney Stefko Dover is a former litigator, business owner and entrepreneur and founder of badassladybosses.

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