Both phone calls and emails can be essential for communicating, but each has its place. How do you decide when a phone call is appropriate, and when an email would be better? Here are a few guiding principles.
- Do You Need It In Writing? An email can be ideal when you’re conveying information that you or the recipient may want to look back on and reference. For example, maybe you’re providing resources or contact information to someone else. In these cases, a phone call may lead to that all-important information getting jotted down on a scrap of paper that gets immediately lost — or not noted down at all. Plus, a digital paper trail of a conversation can also be helpful if there’s a disagreement later over what was said or agreed upon.
- Is It Personal? We live in a digital world these days, so it’s becoming more and more common to favor email over more intimate forms of conversation. That means a phone call can feel friendlier and more authentic, making it ideal for congratulations, apologies, or any other message that could benefit from feeling more personal.
- Is It Urgent? Even if you check your inbox obsessively, not everyone does! More and more people are preventing distraction by checking their inbox only a few times a day, or by turning off their email notifications while they’re trying to focus on another task. Plus, it’s easy for emails to get lost or buried. If you need an urgent answer, a phone call remains the quickest way to get in touch with somebody.
Email is a valuable tool, but it can’t completely replace the benefits that a good ol’ phone call can offer! Knowing which to use and when can be the difference between contacting someone and truly communicating with them.