Email vs phone call: which is better to use when staying in touch with your network

You know you need to stay in touch with someone in your network. The challenge is email vs phone call? This article aims to answer the question of when it is right to email and when is it right to pick up the phone and make a call.

Email vs phone call: Why the dilemma?

When I was young and growing up in my parents house, email was just in its infancy. In fact I clearly remember as a 14 year old getting access to a mainframe email system at my school because I was doing ‘computing’. As a teenager growing up in a fairly rural part of Kent, nights out with my friends had to be carefully planned. The one telephone in the house (which was on a long cable) was central to organising a night out… or speaking to the boyfriend of the time. At that time, if you wanted a quick way to organise a night out or speak to anyone you had to resort to a phone call. This makes me sound old, but back then mobile phones were still large bricks and yet to become the default way we make our phone calls. In fact I only got a mobile phone when I left university in 1998. (This was partly to appease my parents who wanted to make sure I could always call someone if needed!) But is is 20 years since I left university. (That makes me feel really, really old by the way). And in that intervening time, society has changed. We’ve moved to an ‘always on’ society where we are bombarded by information and tend to live ‘busy’ lives. I don’t know about you, but I now find that making a phone call comes with all sorts of assumptions and fears which just didn’t exist 20 years ago.

The answer is… nearly always ring them

I’m not sure why picking up the phone has become such a difficult thing to do. I am sure there are better people out there to explain why. But from what my clients are saying they are worried about picking up the phone for many of the following reasons:

  • How do I start the conversation?
  • Is it alright to make a call to someone who isn’t expecting it?
  • What if they are busy and can’t take the call?
  • Wouldn’t they think I am stalking them if I ring?
  • Will they get annoyed with me if I make the call?

Most of these fears, in my experience, are often not rooted in reality. When we are taking the email vs phone call decision, we often let our irrational brain take over. I.e. let’s keep us safe by emailing. The problem is that emails can get lost or easily ignored. They are liable to misinterpretations. Whilst they may be quick and easy, a phone call can often get the right action quicker. When it comes to a phone call, as long as you respect the other person’s time, then most of the unfounded fears are mitigated. For example, if you check that they have time for a call at the start of a call, then you can get rid of all the fears about their time or stalking. So when it comes to deciding on email vs phone call, pick up the phone.  

Learn what it takes to get noticed, win clients & get your next promotion

The training and advice you won’t get from your firm is yours, with a Progress to Partner subscription – click here for info!