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The Phone – Your Friend or Foe?

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Email, text messages, messenger, snap chat are all awesome for communication but nothing beats actually picking up the phone. Well that’s my opinion anyway! Here at Inspire HQ we kicked off 2018 with a mini strategy session where amongst many other agenda items I shared with my team my goal for us to cut back on the email and up the phone use. It’s the only expense that I’ll be happy to see increase this year.

The phone has always been my number one choice for communication (other than a face to face meeting of course). I think it’s how I’ve built my career and my business. From my days in real estate to recruitment, it’s all been about building a relationship and in reality you just can’t do that as effectively via email or any other written format. Yes, there can be a time and a place for email, even texting but if you are going to build a relationship, make a great impression or gather information the best method is to pick up the phone.

You might be thinking yeah, for you maybe the phone might be the best but that’s from a business perspective. That’s where you are wrong. Everyone should pick up the phone a little more often. Let me give you some examples.

This week I have been fielding enquiries from job seekers about a position I am recruiting for. There is a huge amount of interest, the applications are flowing in. I’ve been inundated with phone calls, text messages and emails from interested job seekers. People text me asking for me to tell them about the position, asking me when should they call to enquire and asking me to call them. Maybe I’m a little old school but there is no way that I am going to sit and type you a text message and try to tell you about a job. That is definitely a conversation for the phone not via text message. And for those that text asking when to call, please just pick up the phone, if I don’t answer please leave me a message and I promise to return your call; anyone with a commitment to customer service will call you back. By picking up the phone not only can you gather information about a job, it’s also a fabulous opportunity to catch my attention by highlighting your skills and expertise; there is only so much scope to do that in an email. My point: Just do it – Pick up the phone.

Today I was asked my advice on how a job seeker should handle a situation regarding a job they have applied for. They’ve had an interview and it’s been a few weeks, they were told they would hear an update mid to late January. No updates have been forthcoming to date. This job seeker did the right thing and followed up but she followed up by sending them an email. She got a reply, however it was ambiguous. She still has no idea where she stands in the recruitment process and now she would like my advice on how to reply. My advice: She should have picked up the phone to get an update, email should have been the back up option if after a few days she couldn’t get them on the phone. If she had spoken with them on the phone she could have asked the questions she needed to, to get the information she wanted. Now she is in a quandary. Does she email back asking for clarification, specifically stating her multiple questions or does she try and call? The situation could have been avoided and by picking up the phone she could have much more effectively reaffirmed her interest in the role.

Why are we so reluctant to pick up the phone these days? I really don’t know the answer to this one and I guess everyone has their own reasons. Maybe it’s a lack of confidence in verbally communicating. Maybe it’s based on an assumption that we will be annoying or interrupting the person we are contacting. Maybe it’s perceived that an email or text message will be quicker. Maybe it’s just that we have a more introverted style and communicating over the phone is not our natural preference. Regardless of the reason, there are times when we have to push ourselves outside our comfort zone and chose the method that is going to get the best outcome.

Early on in my career I was given some great advice and it has stuck with me. The advice: If you have more than two questions to ask it shouldn’t be an email, it should be a phone call or a face to face meeting. I think it’s pretty sound advice and it has always worked for me.

Before you next hover your mouse over the New Email or tap the message icon on your mobile phone, stop for a second and consider; would this communication be better as a phone conversation?

 

Have you considered how your current salary compares to others in similar roles within Regional Victoria?  Visit www.regionalsalaries.com.au and compare your salary now, it’s free and anonymous.

Angela Connor is the Founder and Director of Inspire HQ, one of regional Victoria’s leading recruitment, human resource and career coaching companies. She understands the significance of having the right team of people in a business and is passionate about helping business to attract, recruit and engage the right people so those people can inject their talents into the business; creating an environment where they can do great work and love what they do. Find more useful information and advice at www.inspirehq.com.au or by following Angela on LinkedIn.

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