Telephone calls have become verboten.
These days, picking up the telephone, making a call, and speaking live with another human being is fast becoming the exception to the rule.
Many people consider a phone call a rude intrusion. Instead of just calling somebody, one first needs to determine the best date and time and then make an appointment to bother that certain someone – i.e., sales prospect, colleague, or friend.
How in the world can we communicate effectively (conversational tone does makes a difference) through texting, e-mail, and, oh my God, personal exchanges on public forums? Yes, that means Facebook and Twitter. At least LinkedIn affords some privacy.
It appears that no one gives a damn about the nuances of a real-time, voice-to-voice, person-to-person connection. How many times has a friend or family member irked you – or you upset them – because the text message came off as commanding or scolding? Perhaps they used an emoticon ;) or LOL acronym to indicate they were just joking (or to soften the blow).
Perhaps you stepped over the line of netiquette when you emailed a co-worker and did not take the extra time to include all the “thank you very much!” and “kind regards” bells and whistles. Use of these and other cajoling phrases are essential to convince the recipient that your email or text message deserves a response. The fact is, your inquiry and his or her reply means you are simply doing your job and mutually serving your employer – if you are lucky enough to have a job, that is.
Millions of people are looking for work. Yet, postings relentlessly advise job seekers: “No phone calls!” In most cases, the automated resume screener electronically deleted your resume – simply because it did not contain the right key words. If there is no opportunity to speak with a company recruiter or talent manager, how does one stand out?
Here is a dare. The next time you think about emailing or texting someone, don’t. Just pick up the phone and call.
More likely than not, you will end up leaving a message because, as No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani observed in Spiderwebs, answering means relenting to the (in her case, maddening) caller and losing power. If the call-ee intentionally does not pick up, s/he has further woven a conversational spider web of hide-and-go-seek.
Social media and the ever-spawning age of texting is the antithesis of being social. No one, not just employers, cares for the real thing – a k a the human touch.
Alexander Graham Bell is probably turning over in his grave. The remarkable device that he invented, with electrical shop owner Thomas A. Watson’s help, will go the way of VCRs.
Sadly, the digital revolution – zeroes and ones – is rapidly stomping out one vital form of human connection.