the art of a phone call

imgresI read Mark Suster’s piece called It’s Soft King More Effective to Pick Up the Phone and started thinking about what he wrote.  He is right, millennials are totally allergic to phone calls.   Yet sometimes you have to just pick up the phone.  Email and text can communicate but nuances are lost particularly when you need to get a point across in a particular way.   Many times I end up having my first conversation with someone on the phone about their business.  It is not the easiest if you are not phone friendly.  There is a skill to it.  Focus, listen, answer the questions, engage as if the person was sitting there in front of you.

I had this conversation with my daughter.  She had interviewed over 50 people on the phone.  At the beginning it was not the easiest thing but she got better over time.  She is a texting generation kid.  Quick, short, to the point.  I love to hear my kids voices but I can tell that phone isn’t their most favored way of communication.  It doesn’t come easy talking into some instrument with some other voice on the other end.

I grew up with the phone.  We had one phone number in our house.  I remember as if was yesterday when we go the second line.  It was a gift for Chanukah.  This phone starting ringing.  My sister, my brother and me went crazy running around trying to find the phone.  We finally found it tucked under the bottom stairs to the basement around the corner from our TV hang out room.  The cord was long enough that we could actually pull it into the room.  I would spend hours and hours on the phone.  My sister spent so many hours on the phone with camp friends in the off -season and my Mom freaked when she got the bill.  Who knew talking on the phone could be so expensive.

Just like kids face time or skype each other and talk endlessly to the point where it is if they are just hanging in the same room together it was the same thing with the phone.  I would spend hours talking about nothing.  Sometimes we would just breath.

Maybe it was all the years of phone calls that taught me the skills of networking.  Who knows but the art of communication is never going away.  We might all be using different devices but you do have to figure out the best way to communicate clearly on each one.  Sometimes it is important to just pick up the phone or skype because the message doesn’t come across quite as clear when it comes to a text.

Comments (Archived):

  1. LE

    We got a 2nd line as well “the kids line”. Years after we all moved out my parents still had that line. They would keep it to give to repairmen and others kind of like a “bat phone” when it rang you knew it was someone you were waiting to hear back from.Back then phone plugs had 4 big prongs. And you needed Bell equipment no third party that didn’t come until much later. I remember when we got the first lighted “princess” touch tone phone. It was so cool to see the lights behind the numbers. Unbreakable stuff.My dad, at his business, had a phone number ending in “1000”. I remember as a kid how important that was to him it made him seem “like a big company”. He had it on his business cards I’m sure it helped him when he was at gift shows. [1]When I started my first business I test dialed for hours to find numbers for it that ended in “00”. I got “1100” “7700” and so on just by spending a few hours testing what was disconnected. (If you asked when you ordered a phone number they just gave you random digits if you weren’t a “big business” so you had to tell them the number you wanted and if it was free they would give it to you. Stuff they don’t teach you at Wharton (which I went to).[1] This is actually probably what got me into grabbing short domain names. Figuring it was something that big companies would want or that they already did (I was right obviously..)

  2. bsoist

    At my daughter’s high school they have this week of nonsense every year called spirit week which culminates in a skit put on by each class. In one of the skits, they poked fun at a junior boy who apparently has the confidence and good looks to get lots of phone numbers but “he can’t use any of them” because his parents don’t let him have his own phone.I got a big kick out of that because when I was a lad, I had to have the nerve to pick up the phone, wait for it to ring, and then almost certainly talk to the parent who answered the phone.Boys today don’t know how easy they have it, and perhaps girls might prefer to have the screening and vetting process back in place.

    1. LE

      I got a big kick out of that because when I was a lad, I had to have the nerve to pick up the phone, wait for it to ring, and then almost certainly talk to the parent who answered the phone.Boy do I remember that. Or the sister or brother answering. Of course this was before caller id which was somewhat of a benefit. Ditto I remember answering the phone at the house and friends calling for my sisters. Also, as many boys going through puberty can attest to, sometimes you would answer the phone and your aunt would think you were your sister.

      1. bsoist

        🙂 I remember that too.

  3. ellen

    As an older person, I don’t mind texting and email but love to hear a phone call from a loved one once in awhile, when they ARE NOT driving and just calling, because they are bored and you are their “fill in” time until they get to their destination.

  4. kenberger

    Did you catch the urban slang humor in the referenced article’s title? It took me quite a while after thinking there was a typo:”It’s Sofa King more effective…”I had to say that out loud a few times before it hit me…

  5. Brandon Burns

    “The cord was long enough that we could actually pull it into the room.”Lol!Catching up on missed GG posts. Like you, I’m also in CA til April (though in SF). The weather is gorgeous. I’m getting less work done than I want. Unless I look at all the personal battery recharging, and then I see that I’m actually getting a lot done!