As we live and work in the digital world, has the actual telephone become irrelevant? Is making and returning phone calls actually a thing of the past? It appears so.
If that is the case, then perhaps we are losing our humanity that has been so deeply embedded into our DNA since the invention of the telephone.
That is the bigger point: maybe we are losing the personal connection to each other. It is so much easier to communicate with each other by emails or texts, but something gets lost in digital communication.
What gets lost is real human connection, inflection, tone, emotion, clarity, etc.
Of course nothing replaces face to face interaction whether it be in business or a social setting, but the telephone still ranks at the top of the communication ladder when face to face communication is not possible.
Remember years ago when the phone rang at home and everyone yelled, “I’ll get it!!!!”? It was a big deal to receive a phone call prior to answering machines. If a call came in and no one answered it, a possible important phone call was lost forever.
Have you noticed since the advent of the “smart phone” that most people would rather not speak on the phone? The latest and newest smart phones with all the gadgets that one could ever imagine is constantly being advertised and rammed down our throats. Additionally we feel inferior if we do not have the latest cell phone.
Have you seen latest phones from Apple and Samsung? To make a phone call with their latest cell phones, it’s like having a flat screen TV to your ear! Really!
Yet, most people do not even consider actually using the phone part of the gadget to communicate. We all text now and send emails but (not to beat a dead horse) we really are losing out when we do not speak on the phone. We lose out on the human-ness that the phone provides.
When we use the telephone, we have to think on our feet. We have to be polite. There is an agreed upon etiquette such as a simple “Hello” when answering the phone. “How are you?”, “How can I help you?, “I need your help”, “Have a nice day”, “Thank you for your business.”
In business, when we actually say thank you on the telephone, it is exponentially more powerful than it is by a text or an email. There is emotion. Asking “how are you” on the phone (whether or not we really care) is a nice thing to ask and even better if we respond if someone is not doing well.
I use the phone as much as possible to communicate and in many cases I have to leave a voice message. More often than not, I do not receive a return phone call.
So I will call again (in a couple of days) and when I finally reach the person on the phone, I usually hear: “gee, I am sorry, but I did not get the message” or “I have been so busy that I have not had the time to call you back.”
Yeah, sure. Aren’t we all busy? There is almost always time to call someone back.
When someone tells me that they have been too busy to call me back I often think to myself that if I left a voice mail message that said “If you could please call me back in the next 10 minutes, I will give you $5,000” I would no doubt get a call back immediately.
I really believe there is a strong trend in not using the telephone to speak with each other, and that is quite disturbing.
In closing, the real winners in business and even in our social lives are those of us who are really communicating with our voice when possible. In using the phone, we offer our humanity and civility not to mention clarity of purpose.
Lastly for everyone that I have left messages for, thank you for NOT calling me back. I realize how busy you are.