In The Lee Group offices we have employees from many different age groups. We have a few Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y employees, and geographically, we all sit in different locations – Newport News, Chesapeake and Richmond. On a daily basis there is a lot of communication between our three offices as well as with our external customers/employees. Naturally, within our diverse age group we all have different backgrounds with technology. This ultimately leaves each of us with different communication skills. The debate that stands in most offices like ours is: what is the best way to communicate? Is a phone call or email the best way to get a question or message to a client or co-worker?
At The Lee Group we prefer to pick up the phone rather than send an email. This applies to both talking with our co-workers and communicating with our clients/employees.
The reasons we pick up the phone are very simple:
- The answer we get tends to be immediate.
- The person on the other end of the call will understand that your needs are significant.
- We are building a better relationship over the phone because of the personal nature of the interaction.
- There is less chance for miscommunication when it happens instantly and can’t be “misread”.
As Debbie Yedlin says, “Although emails offer almost instant communication, misunderstandings are frequent and getting the answer needed from the receiving party may take a string of emails.” If you choose to send an email instead of picking up the phone you are then waiting on a response from someone who might not know the urgency behind the email.
By picking up the phone rather than typing an email it allows your co-workers and/or clients to know that your needs are significant. It shows them that their input matters and you need their response to move forward in your daily tasks.
When choosing to communicate through email the recipient will only see the email address of the person who has sent the email. They will not get to experience your personality, how you speak, and there is no way you can have a personal exchange to find out how their day is going. These are things that help individuals build relationships. By building these relationships it ultimately will let us serve our clients/employees better and work as a team with our co-workers.
Some might still argue that email is the best practice to communicate. In some cases email might be better. Some people might be better at getting their point across in an email. Some might be better at picking up the phone and having a personal conversation with their co-worker or client.
The questions you have to ask yourself are: Do I communicate better over the phone or through an email? Will I accomplish my task more efficiently or faster if I pick up the phone? Once you have answered those questions you are one step closer to knowing if you need to pick the phone up or send an email!