As an introvert, I grew up not enjoying talking on the phone. I am still trying to figure out why. Fortunately, early in my professional career, email became widespread. And then, a few years later, I loved when texting came along. I think I prefer to email and text over talking on the phone for a few reasons:
- I like to think about what I need to say.
- I can get right down to business and not engage in a lot of unnecessary small talk.
- People don’t worry about any silence where I am taking time to think.
There are probably more reasons.
But I still do talk on the phone plenty, both professionally and personally.
- Sometimes talking on the phone is the other person’s preferred method of communication.
- Or sometimes particular conversations need some back and forth dialogue that would take too long over emails/texts.
- Or emails can be more easily misinterpreted and certain conversations may be better by phone.
I was talking on the phone with a client the other day and as she was just a little into telling me her story, she started saying, “Are you there? Are you there?” I, of course, assured her that I was listening to her. I have learned that, especially when talking to those that are uncomfortable with silence, it is necessary to tell people that I am listening from time to time, or throw in the occasional “ok.” Also for those uncomfortable with silence, I need to tell them when I need a minute while looking up some information. I tend to not talk while I am doing this and this can also make some callers uneasy. Sometimes I actually ask to put them on hold if I think it will be a minute or so.
Over the years, I’ve learned that, as an introvert, talking on the phone is still not my preferred method of communication. However, there are strategies to having successful conversations, and thankfully, several other options that make talking on the phone less of a necessity.