Finally, about 4:30, I came up for air and did what we all do when transitioning from one activity to the next: I checked email!
Great! An email from the vendor. I sighed a huge sigh of relief until I opened the email only to discover that the answer I was waiting for was incomplete. It did little more than open the door to more unanswered questions.
Call me an old fashioned guy when it comes to communication. But while emails are a great thing and I send and receive more than my share, somehow I don’t think they can or will ever replace the efficiency of actually speaking directly with someone.
So I picked up the phone to call my vendor only to discover that his day had ended. I left a detailed message in which I asked two additional questions. Then I encouraged the vendor to call me as soon as he could. My hope was that that would be early next morning. Much to my chagrin, when I opened my email next morning at 7 o’clock, there it was – another email response from the vendor. In his email, he attempted to answer my two questions. He also indicated that he would be “out and about” for the day and could not be reached.
Now, I don’t think the problem is with this one vendor. In fact, from where I sit, it seems to be almost epidemic.
Rather than dealing with a problem, situation, questions, or need to respond to someone by simply picking up the phone, people are relying more on more on email or texting.
But from where I sit, those communication channels that seemingly save time do little more than prolong the eventual need for a more direct phone conversation.
So I’ve decided to go hog wild and start using the phone more and more. That’s not to say that I won’t use email or send an occasional text. But I believe that if I have something important to say to someone else, I really prefer that they hear it directly from me. And if they have something important to me, I prefer that they tell it to me in a phone conversation rather than an engaging me through an unending stream of emails or texts.
Oh, and there’s one other thing. What’s really fun about a phone call is that there are always a few minutes to talk about the weather, share some spontaneous conversation about a newly released movie, inquire about holiday vacation plans, or have a laugh or two. Not only does it save time in the long run, but it also builds relationships in a most delightfully human way.