Don’t forget to call

Most people are better at talking than writing. Whether they’re working on an email, slides or Facebook updates, they spew jargon or silliness, go on for way too long or are paralysed by writer’s block.

When they talk to other people, they shine. They are animated, spontaneous, interesting, interactive, friendly, funny and so much more.

I spend much of my day talking to people like this on the telephone. It’s my medium of choice. Yes, email is better for setting up appointments and other routine activities. Social media is better for reaching out to a wide range of people. Face-to-face also works, though it usually involves travel, time and the need to dress up.

But nothing beats the intimacy, comfort and convenience of talking on the phone. When I interview or meet by phone, I often warm up people with some quick questions about their kids, pets or that old standby the weather, which works very well on long-distance calls.

Then they talk. I furiously type. I ask questions, followup on interesting bits or seek clarification. They answer. All faster than a speeding instant-messaging bullet. And far more free-flowing.

Telephone calls enable me to work from my home office in pajamas in the morning and sweaty gym gear in the early afternoon. They ignore race, thinning hair, tattoos, bulging bellies and other visuals that feed prejudice.

This week, blogger Patsy Krakoff was surprised when content marketing expert Jonathan Krantz telephoned her. “It’s getting so a phone call’s a real treat,” she wrote. “I can only take so much email and Tweets! He’s not afraid to pick up the phone and call to connect, just like real human beings used to do, back in the day…”

“Just like human being used to do?” Oh my.

Although I commented on her post, I should have been smart and given her a call. I would have reminded her of the importance of hanging on to what continues to work, like telephones and radios, while embracing the new. As my mother used to say: “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver, the older gold.”

It’s not just bloggers who should spend more time on the telephone. This week I’ve been participating in a discussion on one of my Linkedin groups about face-to-face versus social media. It doesn’t need to be a debate. All we need to do is pick the most appropriate media for what we’re doing, which is growing more difficult as the choices explode.

But here’s my point: don’t forget that the telephone is often the best choice, especially with people who love to talk. Like me and most of the human race.

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