Whether you want your sales team to be on the phone more often, or your clients to speak with you on the phone regularly, or your children to talk with their friends from time to time instead of texting, it all starts with you. Avoiding phone conversations is not unique to any specific generation, industry or profession, and your actions impact what happens next.
How can you have an impact on the future of phone communication? And why does it matter? Don’t forget to share your comments at the end of this post.
I was hesitant to add my voice to the debate/discussion on generational differences and the telephone … but I’m very glad I did. I’ve learned a lot, most importantly that each one of us is contributing to the decline or development of phone communication. I’m particularly grateful to Gustavo Zanatta who took the time to point out that I’d completely missed the fact that some young people have given up on making calls because … no one’s answering!
All of our methods of communication are valuable and important. They each allow us to “hear” each other in different ways. Using email, video, text or phone to “speak” with each other should make us better, even excellent, communicators. But when we abandon any of these options, or use them carelessly, we risk our ability to understand, empathize and build relationships.
So what can you do, right now, to support phone conversations as a vital communication choice? There are three actions you can take that will have a big impact:
- Make calls. Use the phone more often yourself. If you want your team – or your children – to have phone conversations, set the example. When they hear you enjoying conversations, accomplishing things quickly, closing sales or uncovering new opportunities, they will be inspired to dial.
- Return calls. Do you have unanswered messages in your voicemail or on slips of paper on your desk? Or perhaps you don’t even take the time to check your voicemail anymore? Then how can you possibly complain when someone doesn’t return your calls? Set the example and engage in conversations with colleagues and friends about the importance of returning calls.
- Receive calls. When was the last time you simply answered your phone without thinking about who was calling or why? While there’s no doubt some sales or customer service calls can be annoying, many of them contain an opportunity to learn something new, solve a problem or improve your service. When we don’t answer calls, we build a wall around ourselves, limiting what we know and what we can accomplish.
As with so many things in life, we need to be the change we want to see in the world, and this even applies to phone calls.