A recent article in the New York Times has argued that the telephone is rapidly becoming obsolete and the days of making spontaneous phone calls are over. Whether for personal or professional reasons it is becoming increasingly rare to just pick up the phone and give someone a call to talk something through or even ask a quick question. Increasingly we now exchange and update our contacts using email, texts, instant message or Facebook updates.
Even at work, it seems a shame that communication is becoming purely transactional and we no longer use ‘voice time’ to get to know and understand our counterparts better. The telephone can be an interruption but it is also much quicker and more effective for quick questions or clarifications. Voice mail and caller ID now help us to manage our time and allow us to avoid certain calls until later if we are working on an important project and do not want to be interrupted. As with any other communication channel the secret is to know when and how to use the telephone most effectively. Bear in mind that it is often the personal contact of spontaneous phone calls that clients and other stakeholders value most when working with large organisations.
Good communicators tend to build more effective and long lasting relationships than those who don’t pay attention to how they communicate – and these relationships are often crucial to the success of their organisation. Effective communication is not only the style and language we use but it also involves selecting the right communication channel and knowing when to focus purely on a quick transactional message and when to take the time to develop the relationship.
Forward thinking organisations recognise that the ability of their employees to communicate effectively is just as valuable as the technical expertise that they offer and will invest in communication skills training programmes to ensure their staff no when and how to communicate most appropriately.
© Communicaid Group Ltd. 2011