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.