Life without email? Probably not happening. But what about a day without email? Just imagine–an entire day where you actually had to … speak with people. Gulp!
As I was driving in this morning, I was, as always, listening to NPR. The story that caught my attention was one on email-free Fridays at U.S. Cellular. You can listen to the story here. As I was listening to how how a technology company copes without email on Fridays, I was taken with the idea of how much less frequently I speak with people now. And I suspect I’m not that unusual (at least in this regard!).
Seriously, what do we miss out on when we email a client rather than speaking on the phone? The human connection that occurs through voice communication (which is less than face-to-face dialog) generally cannot be replicated through the keyboard. Certainly not every communication need be or even should be by phone or in person. But be honest, aren’t there times where it would be better to pick up the phone and instead we just let our fingers do the talking? Those are the opportunities we should keep track of and evaluate–honestly.
Maybe we should adopt our personal email free Friday (or Tuesday) and use that day each week to talk to the people with whom we want strong and lasting relationships.
ADDENDUM: Special thanks to Dan Hull for his mention of this post in What About Clients. But even more thanks for his reference to a year old post he made along very much the same lines. As usual, Dan more eloquently framed the issue:
But what happened to voices, vibes, faces, bodies, winks, hand gestures, touching another’s hand or shoulder impulsively, stares, grins, frowns, hand-written thank you notes, human electricity, NOT-typing, non-virtual joking, yelling, ragging and flirting, occasional confrontation, intimacy and the "god-in-the-room" magic that starts with two breathing humans in one real place.
This Friday, pick up the phone. Or pick up your feet.