Thursday 23 January 2014

Let's Talk

There was a time when your communication options amounted to telephone, fax or letter. (In fairness, there was a time when your options were papyrus and horse but moving on). We now have any number of options including mobile, text, messaging apps and social networks. Many bemoan the lack of personal communication, feeling that 'nothing beats a phone call'.

The telephone is an incredibly rude device. It's the equivalent of walking into a room and saying "talk to me now, talk to me now, talk to me now." Understandable in an emergency but fairly inexcusable otherwise. The other modern means of communication have the advantage of saying "I would like to tell you something, when you're ready."

The perception may be that a phone call will get a quicker answer and there is some truth in that, although not always. It is possible to phrase a greeting, question and sign off in three or four sentences in an email, circumventing a phone call involving a greeting, generic enquiry about life, prelude to the question, question, asking the question a different way, discovering the answer to that question is not possible straight away, an arrangement on how to find the answer, a wishing of well and saying goodbye three times. Even worse when the phonee has just come back from holiday and wants to describe it to you in detail. I'm looking at you Brian.

That is a two-way street. Personally, if I get asked a question out of the blue on the telephone, I can hear myself explaining it extremely poorly without the possibility of editing it. I can hone an email down to a work of art. It's almost Shakespearian. No really.

Of course, we are not anti-phone. This is largely about using the right tool for the right job. Still, discounting email or other electronic means of communication in the 21st century is short-sighted at best. Disagree? Let's talk about it. Text me.

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