Phone calls and voicemails are not a particularly effective means of communication.
- They aren’t searchable.
- They aren’t easily reviewed.
- They aren’t as actionable as text communications.
How can we resolve these issues?
In many cases, phone calls are less efficient than text messages. Some examples of this are (1) requesting contact information and (2) scheduling.
Requesting contact information
If you call me to request someone’s contact information (phone number, mailing address, email address), you have to find paper and pen to take the information down. Meanwhile, I have to fumble my way out of the phone call to my contacts, realize I didn’t put you on speaker, go back, turn speakerphone on, go back to contacts, and start reciting information to you, which will invariably be misheard.
Alternatively, you could have sent me a message requesting the contact information, in which case:
- You would not need paper and pen.
- I could quickly share the entire contact card with you, or easily copy the appropriate piece of information from the contact card to my reply.
- You could easily create or update a contact by holding the phone number or email address in my reply.
If you need to inform me when a meeting is, ask me when a meeting is, or find a time agreeable to all individuals, a text (or in the last case, group) message works best. Why?
- If you’re informing me, I can select the auto-generated link in the message to create a new calendar event.
- If I’m informing you, you can do the same.
- If we’re trying to find a time that works for everyone, we don’t have to go back and forth between individuals because everyone is immediately aware of the changes.
If you call me and I do not answer, please do not leave me a voice message. There are two alternatives:
- End the call. I will call or text back as soon as possible.
- Send me a text message with the question or information you had for me. I will respond.
Your communication and our time is important to me. Usually, I can better help you and you can better help me by using text communications rather than phone calls. Work-related communication is often best done in a method that automatically creates documentation. It makes what was said easier to verify and more difficult to forget.
If you call and I ask you to text or email me, please don’t be offended. I am trying to help both of us.