The Telephone: The Original Social Media Phenomenon

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Jul 23, 2015
This article is part of a series called How-Tos.

There’s a lot of conversation lately about texts replacing email for conversations with candidates.

It’s the latest round in the, “What cloaking technology can I use to put a screen between me and the candidate so I don’t have to talk to a person live because that’s just too uncomfortably real in my increasingly hibernated life?”

It may well happen that texts replace email; this would follow the pattern of email replacing faxes and regular mail, and faxes replacing regular mail and telegrams, and telegrams replacing the Pony Express, and the Pony Express replacing smoke signals. But the long and short of today’s technology around conversation always seems to want to ignore the telephone.

It’s as if it’s the elephant in the room and nobody wants to acknowledge it. But the fact of the matter is it will not be ignored and it will not disappear.

The role of the telephone in our lives is immeasurable.

Email does not and cannot replace the phone conversation.

Texts cannot and will not replace the phone conversation.

As with any skill, the more we practice something, the better we become. Many today are losing the art of conversation because they do not practice it. It’s a refined art, especially where business is concerned, and it requires daily exercise; without it we become lazy and quickly off our game.

People are more polite on the phone. They are more attentive. They are more likely to do what you ask them to do over the telephone.

If that isn’t enough, the phone call is usually the fastest way to sort things out.

The telephone is the original social media phenomenon – it allowed people to become more collaborative, more ambitious and more social than they had ever been before.

It altered the fabric of daily life when it was introduced in 1876.

There is nothing like real, live human-to-human interaction to get ideas flowing, excitement generated, and projects started. If you’re in a slump right now ask yourself, “Have I been on the phone much lately?”

If you’re honest with yourself the answer is probably, “No.”

Call your mom, call your dad. Don’t text. Don’t email. Call them on the phone. Tell ’em you love ’em.

~ J. K. Simmons, accepting an Oscar for his supporting role in the film Whiplash, 2015

Maureen’s 5 Tips For Getting Emails With A Phone Call

1. Call main number where person works and plainly say: This is Maureen Sharib. Can you please give me Sheila Jenkin’s email address?” Speak slowly and distinctly.

2. If the front desk tells you, “He will have to give you that,” say, “OK. In case I don’t reach him, can you tell me this? What format does your company use? Is it first initial last name @whatever.whatever or is it first name.last name @whatever.whatever?” Be forward and proactive in your probing for information.

3. Once you have email format (first initial last name @whatever.whatever) check for others at for accuracy.

4. If the front desk won’t give you a person’s email ask to be transferred to that person’s administrative assistant (or someone else in the same department). Many times those persons will give it to you.

5. If the person is no longer there, use that as an opportunity to ask whom the person’s replacement is and what their email is.

These simple telephone techniques are surprisingly effective!

This article is part of a series called How-Tos.
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