Why is there such an aversion to the phones?

Photo from: Miami University in Oxford, Ohio
Lately, it seems everyone is blogging or talking about phone aversion at work. For those of you in an office, you know what I mean: the tendency to pen an e-mail, even if it’s convoluted instead of picking up the phone to call the person or better yet walking over to them.

In my current position, walking over to talk to the person directly isn’t always an option. I deal with people across the country, often on technical website issues. As a non-technical person, I have a hard time describing the problem. I can take all the screen shots in the world, but if I can’t explain what the problem is, then what good are the screen shots?

I would much rather call and walk the person through the process step by step over the phone when they can ask questions and I can at least get a sense that they know what I am talking about.

As for why the aversion to the phone in the first place, I understand e-mail is cheaper than a long distance phone call and that e-mail leaves a paper trail, but I think we have become so obsessed with the cost saving and documentation that we forget the person on the other end of the e-mail is just that a colleague and more importantly a person.

A great article on why e-mail is not great for communication by the editor at Pick the Brain can be found here.

The article references an equally great post by Scott Young: Don’t Use Email for Conversations.

3 thoughts on “Why is there such an aversion to the phones?

  1. I have an aversion to using phones at work because I sit in a cubicle surrounded by 9 people who have offices. They can hear every word I say on the phone whether it is personal or business related. And you better believe they comment to everything I say. Therefore, I have just started emailing and seriously cut down on my phone conversations. Email also get me what I call “CYA. . . . Cover Your Ass!” I’ve told people things over the phone before and due to people listening skills they hear something else. If I email info they can’t debate what I typed. I got so tired of hearing; “You didn’t tell me that.” Or some other version of that when I DID tell it over the phone to them. Now, by doing it email, I have proof that they got it and have covered me.

    1. Karen,
      You make very valid points and I agree about CYA, it is important for both parties. In your situation, I completely understand not wanting to make a quick phone call.

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