As an introvert, my preferred method of communication is in writing. I do a lot of emailing, texting, and instant messaging. I like to think first and then communicate, so these methods work well most of the time. Sometimes it is easier, faster, or better in certain situations to pick up the phone or go see someone in person, so it just depends on the situation. I often prefer to have time to compose my answer in writing.
I also see specific communication preferences in others I know. Some pick up the phone first and use email as a second option. Others definitely prefer to email first and rarely want to pick up the phone. It is just a matter of personality preference and I believe it really has a lot to do with introversion and extroversion.
Especially at work, we don’t always get to pick our method of communication and sometimes we have to adapt. I have found this in working with clients who prefer the phone. I can suggest email, but if the client would rather talk by phone, I generally adapt to their preference.
I did have an interesting experience working with a difficult client the last couple of days. I am not sure whether she is an introvert or an extrovert, but I do know that it was hard for her to stop talking and listen while I was doing my best to solve her issue. It did come to a point where I finally asked her to give me a little time and I would send her an email detailing her options. I explained that she could then call me to discuss it further. She was satisfied with this and I sent her an email the next morning. She emailed me back and said that I had been very helpful. We did not need to talk on the phone further, as her questions had been answered. This experience got me thinking that even though her preferred mode of communication was the phone, in this case the written communication coming from me was what she needed. On the phone she wasn’t patient enough for my explanations, but the email, in this case seemed to do the trick. In order to get my “well-thought-out-solution” she needed to adapt to my communication preference.
There will be plenty of situations when we’ll need to adapt to other communication styles, but there will also be times when it’s important for us to understand and utilize our own preferred style to get our messages across.