Productivity Tip: Rediscover the Lost Art of the Telephone Call.

Worryingly, there has been an increase in people opting to use email, text message, social media and mobile apps, as their first means of communication. These new methods of communicating are replacing conversation and even degrading the facility for it.

Consumers have arrived in a position where digital conversations have replaced “real” ones. Mobile companies have reported that many customers no longer use up their entitlement of “free minutes”, opting for text messaging and other online services instead.

Ofcom’s 2015 communications market report shows how digital conversation has overtaken talking:

  • We are a smartphone society, two-thirds (71 percent) of adults now own a smartphone, half of which ‘hooked’ on their mobile phone
  • 69 percent said technology has changed the way they communicate, 59 percent said these new communications have made their life easier
  • Emailing is the most popular form of communications undertaken on a smartphone (81 percent)
  • People in the UK are more likely to text message than make a phone call

We need to talk

Technology has made our lives seemingly more convenient, however, has made conversation wider, shallower and longer. As time progresses, mobile devices dominate our lives more and more. As a nation, we cannot help but be mobile-fixated, checking our devices every few minutes.

This unhealthy smartphone addiction has caused us to become emotionally absent. At least one generation have grown up with digital-addicted parents who are unintentionally distracted by their online lives, choosing to browse online over talking with the family at dinner.

We need to ditch the new and bring in the old. We need to bring back what antique dealers would call a ‘conversation piece’ and rediscover the lost art of the telephone call.

Here’s why the telephone call dominates new digital methods of communication:

    • A phone call cannot be screenshot, making the conversation direct and exclusively between two people
    • Unlike sending an email, you can share opinions and bounce ideas around quickly
    • You cannot skim read a phone conversation, if you’re not paying attention to the words spoken, the other participant will know
    • A phone conversation is intimate, allowing you to know the other person and yourself better
    • As there is less time to think, a phone call opens you up to be more honest
    • A phone call sheds light on feelings and emotions, a certain level of depth which cannot be achieved with new methods of communication
    • Text message makes us numb to the consequences of our words. If we offend a person over the phone, we can hear their reaction and correct any wrong-doings
    • You have to take time out to issue a phone call showing the person they matter, which is the highest compliment

It’s not you, it’s me

Before our mobile devices took off, the landline was primary the only way of connecting with people on the outside world, which set the tone for many relationships – business and personal.

Texting while talking is rude as you’re going back and forth between conversations. Put the phone away, engage with real people and give them your undivided attention. Opting to use email or text message over a personal phone call can cost you valuable business as you come across being ignorant and amateur.

As a nation of technology addicts, we need to begin relying less on digital communications. Even if there’s nothing on the agenda to talk about, pick up your phone and make a call.

Productivity, just a phone call away

Productivity hacks help to get the job done effectively and efficiently. However, hacks usually require an investment of money, asset use and time dedication. It’s better to prioritise by doing few things well than several things mediocrely.

A phone call can boost productivity as it allows to solve problems quickly which would otherwise require a string of emails. A phone call allows to develop a better understanding of the problem at hand, allowing you to reach alignment and make decisions quickly.

A telephone answering service can help boost productivity by answering the phone calls you cannot. Your virtual PA will answer your calls in your company’s voice, diverting important calls or forwarding messages. Your callers will think they have gone through to your in-house secretary, allowing you to focus on the important things.

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