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Thanks for Calling: Four Reasons Phone Calls are Undervalued and Underutilized



With the rise of email there has been a corresponding downturn of phone calls. This trend is hastened by a generational component; one study found that 75% of Millennials avoid phone calls. Email is the perfect tool for many tasks, but not all of them. Fundamental to being a successful professional is having a wide array of tools so you can deploy the appropriate one for the situation.

The pandemic—and the large-scale shift to remote working—has brought the humble phone call back into the forefront. In light of that, we wanted to share four observations in appreciation of phone calls:

No platform planning. From making sure everyone has the application installed to sharing a meeting password, coordinating a video call takes work. Video calls are complex technology. There’s a reason they were the thing of Science Fiction movies 50 years ago. In contrast, whether a land-line or a mobile (or both), nearly everyone you know has a phone number.

Minimal technical glitches. Even if there is a problem with the audio on a phone call, there’s no need to call IT. You simply hang up and try the call again. I was recently in a Zoom meeting where the recipient’s computer didn’t have a functioning speaker, so he asked if we could do the audio by phone. Phone calls are so reliable we turn to them when video call platforms let us down.

No camera catastrophes. From the now-infamous stories of individuals who have been seen doing things on camera they will never live down, to the more common problem of not knowing where to look, the “video” part of video calls can be more liability than asset. Unless there is a need to share screens or view a presentation, consider the idea that a phone call might actually serve your conversation better.

Human connection. Ultimately, the reason we love the phone is its ability to facilitate real human interaction and empathy. There is an immediacy and an ease to phone calls that sets them apart from their video-call counterparts. A phone call enables us to focus on the other person and their ideas, not the technology mediating our interactions.

For these reasons and many more, we offer our heartfelt gratitude and enthusiastic endorsement for the phone call. So go ahead, think twice before you send your next Zoom invite. You may find that you’ll be better off if you simply pick up the phone and call.

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