The Secret Weapon in Your Communication Tool Box

By Chuck Sink | February 8, 2018

Emails are focused, written communications that are easily searchable and provide a permanent record of discourse. Email is also a handy tool for file and link sharing but emails are woefully ineffective in a very important area of business communication; impetus.

Emails lack the moving energy to solve problems or improve situations. They become buried, static messages that seem to give the sender permission to set aside important business until a response email is received, especially when there are unknowns or questions between the parties.

Clearly, we’re not talking about email as a secret weapon in communications. There’s a much older tool that works business magic.

How many times have you become deeply engaged in an email thread that lasted several days or weeks? The subject line may have nothing to do with the last several emails. Each party is busy with multiple things and the discourse is interrupted by hours and days of delay. Situations on both ends are always changing in the meantime.

A project gets stuck, so finally, you pick up the phone and call your fellow emailer to figure out what’s going on in real time. A few simple questions are answered on both ends and the project is full steam ahead! That was easy! When analyzing the whole thing, you realize an earlier phone call or two would have eliminated days of back & forth emails.

The telephone is the next best thing to being with another person face to face. The telephone encourages and requires dialog. There’s no visual body language so you must rely on a 2-way conversation to make a phone call have any effect. It requires active listening for not only words but vocal tones, breath & sighs, and other audible cues.

Leaving new business on hold? Pick up the line!

Your most vital source of business, both new and sustaining, are the customers you already serve. It’s crucial that they keep getting the value they pay for. If important work and deliverables are stalled from lack of written communication, spoken communication like a phone conversation gets things back on track or even ahead of the game. There’s also the opportunity to expand business with customers by talking with them about how upgrading may suit their growing needs better than their current service level.

Call your customers when you need more impetus behind your messages. Your marketing alone may not be enough. Customers often request something in writing after you’ve had a discussion over the phone. If you don’t hang up with an agreement, tactfully recall the key parts of the phone conversation, emphasizing where there was mutual agreement, and respond quickly in written form perhaps both print and electronic formats. Then pick up the phone and start the conversation where you left off, this time with a concrete offer that they can readily commit to.

More Email Busting Tactics that Work Wonders

Ever play phone tag? Sometimes it takes keys in the ignition to put you in front of a person you need to talk with. It’s hard to ignore the person who physically shows up in your office or job site.

Remember that not everyone likes using the phone. Boomers and Gen Xers tend to prefer phone calls over emails. But there are plenty of Millennials and Generation Z people who actually get annoyed by voice calls. Text them and start counting to 10. Your phone will vibrate or ping by 7 or 8. Text messaging gets through instantly and with an air of urgency. And most folks, young and old, don’t want a bunch of unanswered text messages piling up so they respond fast.

Use the Insider Network

You may have been thinking of your business connections on social media, particularly Facebook and LinkedIn. Direct messaging through these channels, especially Facebook, reminds people that you’re friends too and can be very effective. I’ve had fine results reaching business associates on Facebook when other ways failed to get a response. All generations who are active on Facebook tend to like using it for instant messaging and it’s a robust application for file sharing as well.

I feel it’s only fair to add a final word in defense of good old email. I don’t know if this company would exist without it. If you got to this post through an email newsletter, thank you!

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