Pick Up the Damn Phone

In this day and age of expected hyper-productivity, some think accepting unsolicited calls are a waste of precious time. Here's why they're wrong.

In this day and age of expected hyper-productivity, some think accepting unsolicited calls are a waste of precious time. The argument goes it is hard to make good decisions on the spur of the moment and it interrupts your “flow.”

I disagree. Here's why:

1. I'm fed up with phone trees, IM chats, and all the rest that seemingly are designed to make it as hard as possible to get information or your problem solved so companies don't have to hire real people to talk to you.

2. Sure, people are busy. So why not just schedule a call and chat?

3. Most business calls are about buying and selling something, usually with people you trust. Do you trust most people you have never met or at least spoken to on the phone?

4. A telephone conversation can be a much richer experience than email and you can read between the lines based on a person's tone.

5. Many times, there is a hidden agenda. “I want to partner with you” translates into “I want you to help me find customers or money.” A hidden agenda becomes obvious in 30 seconds on the phone.

6. You learn a lot more about potential opportunities on the phone.

7. People will tell you things on the phone they don't want documented in an email, for better or for worse. You might not like what you hear so be prepared.

8. Since so few people actually talk to each other on the phone, you can take advantage of the element of surprise. “Wow, I didn't think you would actually answer the phone,” sets the stage of a much easier close.

9. Dropped handoffs are the main reason for medical errors. I suspect if more doctors actually spoke to each other when making a referral, like way back when, things would work out better.

10. The NSA might be listening, but at least your conversation is less likely to be hacked or infected with a virus.

The next time I call you, please pick up the damn phone. I spent a lot of time getting your number since you did not list it on your Linkein profile.