I remember when I was the only person I knew who was excited about email. I would talk the head off of anyone who would listen. Many times to glazed-over eyes. In my small town, when I opened my Internet Studio in 1995, I was known as the “crazy internet lady”. Good times.
Now fast forward to 2019 and we can’t live without electronic communications! You are the crazy one if you don’t email or text.
Text, Email, Call or Meeting?
Even with a couple decades under our belt, many are still feeling their way around what are the best situations to use email and texting versus picking up a phone or scheduling an in-person meeting.
Many times these choices are based on what we are more comfortable with or what we are only willing to do at the time. Whether it be time constraints, the topic at hand or in some cases, not thinking it through.
Let’s walk through your options and considerations…
Texting versus Email
For me, texting is not a very helpful business communication tool. In my consulting practice there is really nothing of value that can be gained with a text message.
I can understand how a quick text stating you are running late and on your way would be effective but beyond that, for my business, I am hard pressed to think of how clients texting me or visa versa would be effective. So I take that option off the table.
Texting for business has it’s own set of guidelines and constraints. Consider those before you choose to whip off a blurb to business partners or associates.
It is very difficult to have an actual conversation with texting. Assumptions can abound which then could lead to misunderstandings. In most cases a more succinct and clear email will probably be preferred by the other side. This allows you to include information and details that would not fit in a text.
Even with email, you can only be effective to a point — and then it’s time to pick up the phone.
Text or Email versus Phone
There are times when a phone call is the best way to go. What comes to mind are time sensitive topics such as unexpected customer requests or important issues that are a priority. In these cases texts would not be sufficient. In addition, you cannot rely on the fact that the other party will check their email in time to get the updated information.
Professional management practices also dictate that under certain situations you pick up the phone. Phone calls help to foster and strengthen relationships while exchanging information and details in real time.
Situations such as letting someone know they didn’t get the promotion, a personal issue impacting work or that a contract was not awarded. In this case sending an email is taking the easy way out. Managers need to rise to the occasion and make that phone call.
You’ll know what topics or situations this approach applies to. Just think about how you would want to be notified if the shoe was on the other foot.
At a certain point a phone call is the right thing to do and will help to take that business relationship to the next level. Particularly when it’s time to schedule an in-person meeting.
Text or Email versus In-Person Meeting
Nothing matches an in-person meeting for important business topics and activities. Especially when it comes to building customer relationships. An in-person meeting is the primary venue to get to know each-other and begin to bond your two businesses.
Personnel matters, misunderstandings or breaking bad news also require in-person meetings. In some cases resorting to texts or emails could be viewed as insensitive.
As with a phone call, an in-person meeting let’s those involved know that they matter and are a priority. If that is not geographically convenient consider taking advantage of video calling. I use a service called Zoom. It is just like being in the same room with your team or clients.
Think… Then Choose
If you need a fast response — pick up the phone. Is response time not critical — send an email. Sending a short status update — a text could suffice. Sensitive or important topic — schedule a meeting.
Choosing your method of communication with your business partners can either strengthen and build relationships or reflect a lack of concern or ability to prioritize. Choose wisely.