Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Forgotten Art of the Phone Call

After working as a Director for over two years, I came to an interesting observation.
People overly rely on email to get things done when making a phone call has so many more benefits. Phone calls allows you to make connections, build relationships and share humanity.
I guess we are getting used to texting, email, snap chats and other forms of non-verbal communication and as a result we are losing the ability to make small talk.  
Emails can be easily ignored, can across with the wrong tone, and can be misinterpreted. A phone call is less likely to have these drawbacks.
However, holding a conversation requires you to think in real time and react to what the other person says.  It can be more intimidating if you have to speak a non-native language.
Despite the extra work involved in making a phone call; the benefits far out-weight the added effort.  Phone calls allow you to put a voice and personality to a name.  You can tell if the person is energetic and passionate about what they are doing, if the person is funny or serious, if they are similar to you and vice versa.  But most of all--you have the opportunity to make a friend. People see that you are human like them and can relate. 
I know it sounds cheesy but making friends is important to getting things done.  When I am in a bind, a friend that I made a long time back was able to help with the problem. 
So the next time you are thinking of sending an email to someone you don't know, try to pick up the phone instead.
And if you are nervous, here are some tips:
1.  Smile when you talk.  They can hear your smile.
2.  Be genuine in trying to get to know them.
3.  Speak clearly and confidently
4.  Let the conversation take a life of its own.  You don't have to stay on the topic of whatever reason you called about.  If they are saying that they are not doing well, you can say, "I am sorry to hear that, what is going on and is there anything I can do to help?"  
5.  Don't expect the first conversation to go extremely well.  Some people take time to open up to you, so periodically call them to get the person to trust you.
6.  You will get better with small talk as you practice.  So if you are in the grocery line and someone smiles at you, practice making small talk.
In no time you will be conversing like a pro.

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