Please pick up the phone — and take me out to dinner
It’s easy in the era of constant email, social media and texting to avoid face-to-face interaction. Many of us could do quite well at our jobs without picking up the phone and without seeing many of the people we work with on a day-to-day basis.
Just because we can operate without personal interaction, however, doesn’t mean we should.
There are many reasons offline communications still have a very valuable place in the way we work (and play).
1. You used to call me on my (work) phone
You know the email thread — the one that started out with a clear question and mission that got increasingly convoluted with the more emails (and individuals) that were added. If you see things becoming unclear in email, pick up the phone, get clarity back on the project, and move forward. Your project will likely run more efficiently and you’ll have the benefit of verbal cues that you wouldn’t gain in an email.
2. ‘I’m a real boy!’
It’s important to remember that the individuals we work with are just that — individuals. It’s hard to build relationships in email: Asking someone about their child’s latest baseball game or how they’re doing on their yoga certification seems out of place (unless you work at a yoga facility, in which case, go right ahead, yogis). Take your client or your teammate out for dinner or lunch — have a real conversation where you build knowledge about them as an individual. The insights you gain and the authentic relationship you’ll begin to build will be well worth it.
3. For all you competitors out there — you win
Because it has become so easy for us to send thank-you notes by email and birthday messages via social media, those of you who still take the time to send a birthday card, to mail a thank-you note, or (my personal favorite) send a small, random “thinking of you” gift or message — you will stand out from the crowd, and people will take notice.