Okay, my apologies for the overly dramatic headline, but I couldn’t resist — and figured if nothing else, a little hyperbole would help grab your attention given all of the holiday distractions popping up!
So here’s the deal. Recently, I made a networking introduction for a client of mine — to a CEO I know here in town — and rather than contact this person via the customary e-mail route, my client decided to just take the initiative, look up the person’s company on the web, pick up the phone, and call him. Cold turkey.
At first, I was wondering if this would be seen perhaps as a pushy or inappropriate gesture, given that it might put my contact (the CEO) on the spot and feel like an “ambush” during the workday. But here’s the response he (the CEO) wrote back, when I checked in with him to see how things had gone:
“You know, Matt, I have to admire (client name) for his direct approach. Sometimes I think the telephone is a better tool for reaching out to people these days. It’s more personal. In fact, I’m kind of moving back to it and away from email and the internet.”
Interesting, eh? And apart from this one recent example, I’ve noticed that many people in the business world now seem to get farther, faster, when they pick up the phone and call somebody they want to converse with — versus agonizing over the issue for days and then banging out a timid e-mail, as many people seem wont to do. So having pondered this issue a bit, of late, I’d speculate that a phone call might offer five key advantages over an e-mail note in many typical job hunting communication scenarios:
1) Phone calls are unquestionably a FASTER activity to engage in than e-mailing, clocking in at about 30 seconds per phone call versus however many minutes — or hours — a person might invest in crafting just the right piece of written correspondence
2) On a related note, the “immediacy” of phone calls might reduce job search stress; rather than worry for hours/days about exactly how you’re going to reach out to a person, and what you’re going to say, all you have to do is dial a few digits and it will all be over with before you know it — like ripping off a bandaid
3) People tend to get far fewer phone calls these days than e-mails, making a personal call more rare/special than other communication alternatives; this novelty factor alone might count for something
4) Phone calls are harder for most people to ignore than e-mails, since they involve putting a “voice with a name” and the caller is able to inject more emotion, warmth, and personality into the message
5) Lastly, it strikes me that a phone call (at least a properly-conducted one) often bespeaks more confidence on the part of the person reaching out than a more passive e-mail note. It signals “I’m somebody worth talking to” and shows more gumption. And while I don’t have any hard data to back this up, my armchair observation is that many recruiters, corporate leaders, and other key connectors in the marketplace today seem to rely on the phone to a greater degree than e-mail for conducting their daily business
Am I completely off-base in these observations? Is the phone a dying (or dead) medium that no longer plays in a key role in most business communications? Or should we all be swinging back around to the idea that, in many cases, it’s actually more effective to call a person you’re trying to meet, versus pinging them electronically?
As you can see, I haven’t quite convinced myself yet, either way, but I felt it was definitely a topic worth raising given that a serious job search involves making dozens of communication attempts each week. As most of you know, I’m an absolutely rabid fan of e-mail, myself, since I generally find it the fastest and most convenient way to communicate with people given my appointment schedule. But if I was needing to build an important new bridge with someone, perhaps I should let me fingers do the walking, instead.
Your thoughts on the matter?