This week, I got a message from a colleague asking why I put my phone number in the "From" line of my email messages.
I explained that I do it because I want people to call me — and it works. In fact, I get comments on it all the time, mostly people thanking me for making it so easy to find my number.
He replied that someone told him "everyone uses e-mail and no one ever calls."
Now, I’m not a big fan of sweeping generalizations, but I also disagree vehemently with this one. Email is not appropriate in all situations (I can think of a few recent incidents when email caused big-time miscommunication). But it seems to me that people are in robot mode when it comes to communication. We respond via email because it’s easy, not because it’s the best mode of communication for the situation. Email is frivolous, a throw-away. Anyone can send it. It only takes a second and we are overwhelmed by it.
Picking up the phone requires more (relative) effort. More and more, I am advising my clients to call — and practicing what I preach as well because, not only does it provide the possibility of a dialogue; by calling you also send the "message" that what you have to say is serious, especially if you call twice!
What do you think? Are you in robot mode? Do you use the phone? Do people call you?