Posted by: Marty Fahncke | August 29, 2013

Pick up the phone!

An article this week in the Wall Street Journal really hit home. It’s about the propensity of business people today to rely too heavily on email and text, and forget about using the phone.

It’s interesting that the article opens with a case study of the negative ramifications of not using the telephone, especially for sales people:

Patty Baxter realized there was a problem. In her 20 years at Metro Guide Publishing in Halifax, Nova Scotia, the office usually hummed with sales calls. Now, it was quiet.

Advertising sales were down and Ms. Baxter identified a reason: Her sales staff, all under age 35, were emailing clients with their pitches, not calling them on the phone.


As a coach and consultant, I’m working in and around dozens of businesses every year, and one thing I’ve seen consistently is that most businesses would be much more effective if once in a while people would give up their days-long email back and forth and just call the person to resolve something. I’ve literally watched employees spend hours emailing each other trying to resolve a situation or do a deal. When I tell them to “just pick up the phone and call them” the situation is usually rectified within five minutes.

The Wall Street Journal article points to “Millenials” as the main culprit. That may be true, but I’ve seen this over-reliance on email communication across all generations. Even old geezers like me sometimes need to remember the primary business tool that launched our careers!

So remember, when you really want to get something done…

Pick up the phone

On a funny/sad note, the article did point out something that many twenty-somethings may not actually be aware of…dial tones:

Dana Brownlee, a corporate trainer based in Atlanta, says the issue of phone aversion frequently comes up in her project management training sessions. One of her clients, a manager at a large utility company, recently had to teach his young employee what a dial tone was and explain that desktop phones don’t require you to press “Send.”


Click here to read the entire Wall Street Journal article (Opens in new window)

What do you think?  Are you or your staff less productive because people aren’t using the phone enough?  Please leave your thoughts in the “Comments” box below…


  1. Great article! I thought the phone was dead…in my line of industry people really go wild on the internet making a living without picking up the phone. Guess there are two sides to this…

  2. believe it or not, phone people still exist in the world. a call can take a few minutes (in a row) as opposed to hours of texting back and forth and not being able to actually accomplishment much – like maybe getting ready for work – from having to continually stop and answer texts. things seem to work much quicker, on average, when you speak to an actual person. not everyone is a techno lover. i love old fashioned conversation. that is – if i can understand them!

  3. […] The importance of the phone in business […]

  4. […] The importance of the phone in business […]

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