E-mails are one of the great inventions of the last century, if only for their ability to help get you through the working day without actually having to speak to people. But while there are definitely occasions when e-mails are more appropriate than phone calls, this is often not the case.

Here are 5 reasons why next time you reach for the mouse, it might be better to pick up the phone…

You’re more likely to get a reply

We’ve all been there, sent an e-mail to somebody and a few days later still not got a response.  So a follow up e-mail is sent and still no response. If your honest you’ve also probably been the person who doesn’t respond sometimes, not because you are rubbish at your job or you can’t be bothered but because it’s so hard to keep on top of the hundreds of e-mails that flood our inboxes.  With a phone call though you can speak to the person there and then and get a response straight away, rather than spending the next two weeks chasing a response.

The process is quicker

How does the saying go, a phone call is worth a thousand e-mails? Something like that. When you speak on the phone you can bounce questions and answers back and forth until you reach the answer you need which can take a matter of minutes. To do the same thing over e-mails can take days or even weeks, dragging it on longer than necessary like James Arthur’s career.

Things are less likely to be misinterpreted

Raise your hand if you have ever been victimised by an e-mail. Or at least thought you have. Words on a page are open to interpretation when you don’t have any other clues to rely on like tone of voice.  We also often write differently and more formally than we speak and this can sometimes come across in the wrong way on the page. Janis Ian could write an e-mail that comes across all Regina George but if she picked up the phone there would be no confusion. Plus if then anything is misinterpreted by what is said on the call, it can be straightened out straight away rather than escalating quickly and ending up in the burn book.

Phonecalls can’t be cc’d

The deadly weapon of modern office life – the passive aggressive cc. There’s nothing worse than sending a perfectly innocent e-mail only to get a response back challenging you on something whilst copying in your manager. It’s like the electronic version of Beyoncé coughing when Kelly called herself the “second lead vocalist” in Destiny’s Child. It can really ruin your day and take a whole load of phone calls to clarify things, so probably better to avoid it altogether and pick up the phone.

Helps to build relationships

It might sound old fashioned but it’s true, it’s much easier to get to know someone and build a relationship with them through speaking with them verbally than it is over emails.  We’ve all seen catfish, we know that you can’t really know someone just over the internet alone, this is probably true for various ‘dating apps’ as well.  You know what I’m talking about.

By speaking to someone you are able to make jokes, make a bit of small talk and generally just bond with them in a way that just isn’t possible over e-mail.

Sanjay Sood-Smith is a food entrepreneur and former candidate on The Apprentice. You can find out more about his business Tuk In, which makes curry-in-a-naan, at tukinfoods.com.

Follow him on Twitter at @sanjaysoodsmith and visit his YouTube channel here.

For more from the Men at Work series, click here.

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