There is no argument that emails are how the working world functions. A thought pops into your head in the middle of a meeting? Email it. You see a funny article that you want to share with your co worker? Email it. You have an important presentation to the boss today? Email it. Without a doubt emails are the way to go 95% of the time. The other 5% comes from a phone call, and here’s why.
It’s hard to admit when we’re wrong, it’s even harder to do in person when we have the option to sit behind a screen and type it out without thinking about what we did wrong. That’s why nowadays it means so much more to apologize in person than from behind a screen. The person on the other end of the line can hear your remorse and fully believe you meant sorry. If you just quickly type out an apology message and send it, the person receiving it may not know if you mean what you said. Apologizing over the phone is hard, you don’t get to the chance to type it out first and make sure it’s perfect before you send it. Instead write it down before you make the phone call, jot down some ideas of what you want to say. No one wants an apology that sounds scripted.
Too many questions
If you anticipate a lot of questions in an upcoming conversation, opt for the phone call conversation rather than the email one. Conversations that entail a lot of questions are usually much harder to understand over email because it is not taking place in real time. No real time answers means things can get lost, people can get confused and forget what the original question was. With a phone call conversation you have the ability to talk back and forth within seconds and figure out the answer so much easier. During your phone conversation you may want to write down key points you discussed so you don’t forget later on. The most efficient conversations can be held over the phone with a follow up email talking about the key points and any other questions you have following your original phone call.
Written instructions can only be so helpful, using them as a point of reference is usually as far as people get. If you’re trying to follow a set of complicated instructions for something you know little about it’s easier to just have someone explain them to you over the phone. Emailing is a great start, but you need that conversation to happen to understand the context better. Make sure you’re staying on task during your phone call don’t want to get side tracked and have to refer to the written instructions again.
Taken too much time
Everyone is guilty of reading an email and marking it as unread with the intention of reading it later on when they have more time to answer you. The intention is there but they might not always get to it in a timely manner. If you find yourself guilty of this then pick up the phone and let that person know, they probably are just as guilty of doing this as you are. Discuss whatever the email entailed. By picking up the phone and calling them back, even though it’s been a little while, the person on the other end will know they are a priority to you not just some other unread email.
If there’s an emergency of any kind or something so urgent that cannot wait, make the phone call. Something tragic has happened to a friend? Make the phone call. A personal phone call from a friends means so much more to someone than just an email. A phone call shows your emotions, whereas an email doesn’t. You can’t read the tone of the text, but you can read the tone of someone’s voice. If you leave a voicemail, by all means follow up with an email touching on the key points from your voicemail.