Social Media has changed the way the world does business. We converse through Facebook updates, blogs, email, tweets and text messages. That’s all handy for a long list of reasons, but there’s a disturbing down side. It seems the art of conversation is disappearing and it’s a loss we can’t afford. We need to realize that the phone is a social media channel too – we need to pick it up and use it!
The Phone is a Social Media Channel
It seems I am eyewitness to a relational train wreck in business on at least a weekly basis and it’s painful to watch. As a business coach working with teams and business relationship dynamics, I’m probably more sensitive to what causes the wrecks and how they can be avoided. The solution often points to a simple instrument we all have at our fingertips – the phone.
The Death of Conversation & Why it Must Rise Again
We have all become so pressed for time, we are in the habit of zipping off an email when a phone conversation would be so much smarter. If there’s any possibility you could be misunderstood or the content is personal in any way, PICK UP THE PHONE! (Yes, I know that all CAPS in a typed message is the equivalent of yelling – I’m yelling this message!)
I realize phone conversations can eat up 15 minutes when an email might take 3 minutes. But the math doesn’t work when the time savings results in damage that takes hours, days and even weeks to repair. Sometimes, the damage is irreparable.
3 Critical Questions to Ask Before You Press “SEND”
Next time you are composing an email that conveys more than direct information and has the possibility of evoking emotion, ask these 3 questions:
1) Could this message be misinterpreted or misunderstood and does it matter?
2) Will the recipient be trying to read between the lines to figure out my intent?
3) Is this relationship worth the time it will take to pick up the phone to prevent a breakdown in communication?
Time is of the essence, but the essence of all we do is relational. Invest in other people. Effective communication involves listening as well as talking. So pick up the phone – it’s a proven, effective and often overlooked social media device. We can’t afford for conversation to become a lost art.