I started working in my business in 1995. I had an “old fashioned” telephone with push buttons by my side and next-door in my bookkeepers office, stood two facsimile machines. I say ‘facsimile’ because I know what that is and I’m proving a point... more of that to follow.
Lets be clear. No Internet to be heard of. No Facebook. No email. No cell phones. We had the yellow pages and written CRM lists. Our invoicing and accounting package ran off a Pentium processor with a dot matrix printer attached via cable. It was slow but reliable.
Life and business was actually way simpler and way slower. As tech caught up with our need for speed and the Internet moved into our communication reach, our once heavily focused cold calling and telephonic relationship-based business started moving to the written word and my first email address [for the whole company] was set up. This in my opinion was the beginning of the end. Everyone from customers, suppliers and staff now started building a culture of “covering my tracks” and putting every last word in 11 point Calibri. Again, it worked for the most part very well. Productivity did improve and information flowed exponentially faster. But this was at the cost of relationships. Here is my visual estimation of how that looked:
So, as we started typing away, we stopped calling people and then the Hiroshima of communication was dropped – cell phones. As soon as short message system [SMS] became a ‘thing’ the written word became more powerful than our voice. We lost tone. We lost pace. We lost the sound of LOL and we started losing eye contact. Internet 2.0 brought us social media and along with mobile domination and Wi-Fi proliferation the problem was escalated.
We stopped making calls. We stopped taking calls. We huff when our mothers call and cant understand why they just don’t text us. We aim for the impossible Inbox Zero and are suffering from email fatigue. Add to that Slack fatigue, Whatsapp fatigue, Skype fatigue, Text fatigue, Social media fatigue, messenger fatigue and now Story fatigue.
We don’t LOL anymore ‘cause it’s lame. FFS. We have stopped laughing in text - never mind in real life. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. It’s called the telephone. It’s a place where you can address an issue in 2 minutes rather than bouncing a string mail back and forth 20 times to resolve something simple. It’s a place where you are not cc’d, Bcc’d or even forwarded useless, untimely information. There is no spam *gasp* in your conversation and you can in worst-case follow up with a simple bullet point email to “cover your ass!” [If need be.]
The phone is your friend. It’s the place you spent hours chatting to girlfriends, boyfriends and family in your youth. A place where you can laugh and even entertain the quiet moments, between words and thoughts. It’s the place you can enjoy people ‘umming’ and ‘ahhing’ to your voice. The phone gives you instant satisfaction and recognition.
This is a call for action. It’s a call to return to the decades before Snapchat and pick up the phone. Cut through the bullshit. Take a chance. Can you hear that ringing?? Answer the call.
Recent Update: It has become clear that more and more of my clients now are responding to mail with a call and making more calls in order to re-establish a missing feeling and ACTUALLY speed up the pace of their business. Voice is and always will be, quicker than your fingers.