What’s on my mind today is simple: get on the phone. You know that email that you just got? The one you’ve been staring at and trying to make sense of? Call the sender. It will save you both time in the long run.
Two recent examples have really driven this home:
- We’ve been working with a vendor on implementing an element of our research (I’m being vague to protect the guilty and innocent). We've written before about how vendors should speak the language of their clients, and I couldn’t agree more. In this case, the vendor was most definitely not speaking our language (we’re not sure they were speaking any language known outside their own office to be quite frank). However, we were dependent on their unique capabilities for a particular project. We called them and worked it out over the phone. If we'd simply guessed at their meaning, I'm not sure that project would have ever been completed.
- A client had some follow-up questions about a proposal we presented. He emailed me, but it was possible to interpret the email in more than one way. Rather than guess or send a long email trying to cover every possibility, I picked up the phone and called him. It turned out that his question was substantially more nuanced than I’d been able to glean from his email, and we explored some ideas that led to a significant change in the proposal. We got that project, but if I’d just answered via email, I’m not sure that would have been the case.
Like everyone, I’m a huge fan of electronic communication – my email, Twitter, and text volumes are creeping ever-higher. And I most emphatically don’t miss all the hours I used to spend trading voicemails with people.
It makes things more peaceful that my phone doesn’t ring nearly as often as it did ten years ago. But maybe it should?