Are you suffering from phone phobia

Are phone calls old school and inefficient? You’d rather send an email or text to a colleague or client? Does this sound familiar?

You might have caught phone phobia. It’s contagious and spreading rapidly from Gen Y to other members of the work force.

If in doubt, the number one symptom is that you hate the phone. We mean HATE the phone. 

You think: ‘why can’t people email or text instead of using the phone?’

Stop there in your tracks. Work is different to your home or social life. Good employees use the right communication techniques for the job at hand. That could be email, text, face-to-face, or the dreaded phone depending on the situation.

If the idea of replacing email with a phone call gives you sweaty palms, then try taking these antidotes:

  • Antidote 1. There are phone people, text people, and email people. Phone people are plentiful and may think you rude or standoffish if you don’t call. It’s easy to avoid such misunderstandings. Ask people what their preferred method of communication is and make a note of that in your address book.   
  • Antidote 2. Always do tricky subjects on the phone or in person. “Emails are monologues, phone calls are dialogue,” says Jacqui Barratt recruiter at Jobs With Salt. If what you’re discussing is sensitive or needs the human touch to get someone else’s buy in, then always pick up the phone or make a date to talk in person.  
  • Antidote 3. The finer details of communication are easier to get right on the phone. It’s possible for the tone of emails to be mistaken as too rude or gruff, or too flippant, when that’s not what you meant to convey at all. It’s easier to be sensitive to those subtleties if you can see or hear the other person.
  • Antidote 4. A phone conversation can be quicker. Sometimes a five minute phone conversation, even with all the niceties thrown in, can be quicker than 20 emails back and forth. “Email and text is a really quick form of communication, but people forget that it might be 20 emails back and forth,” says Barratt. In this situation one five minute phone call is less distracting than all those emails pinging back and forth.
  • Antidote 5. Deadlines mean phone calls. It takes more than one email to ensure your job is done, says Barratt. “Technology does have fails. You don’t know if the other person is in a meeting for four hours when you send an email. It’s not okay to say: ‘I sent him an email’.  If you contact them on the phone you know that the message has been received.” If the communication is really urgent and you can’t get hold of the person on the phone, send a text as a precursor. It is 11 times more powerful than email, says Barratt.

Remember great communication at work is vital. Switch on that work persona, pick up the phone, and give it a go.