The Importance of Telephone Communication in Business
Telephones make business communications fast, personal and interactive.
According to Graham Williams of Centre-ing Services, communication by telephone will be reduced to 5 percent of all business communications by 2015. Businesses have other options, such as digital communication through email, texting and social media. Telephone communication may be slower than its new-media counterparts, but it still has benefits in an increasingly impersonal world. The telephone call, which connects a caller with a human voice, is still an important business component.
Personal and Immediate
Short of talking with someone face-to-face, a phone call is the best way to get a personal response. If the person you called is available, you can take care of business on the spot. With other forms of communication, such as texting or email, you leave a message and hope for a quick response. Phone calls have a vocal backup in the form of voice mail. The caller can leave a detailed voice message, without the restriction of a certain number of characters or typing a text message on a tiny cell-phone keypad.
Dr. Albert Mehrabian’s 1967 study, “Inference of Attitudes from Nonverbal Communication in Two Channels,” named three components of effective communications: body language accounts for 55 percent, voice tone for 38 percent and spoken words for 7 percent. On the telephone, voice tone give dimension and emotion to words, increasing the effectiveness of the communication. Certain body language, such as smiling and standing while talking, may come through in the conversation. Texting and emails are simply words open to interpretation by the receiver, without the benefit of voice tone or body language.
Related Reading: The Importance of the Grapevine in Internal Business Communications
Teleconferencing calls bring people together from all over the organization at a fraction of the cost of travel and meeting facilities. Attendees can phone in using a toll-free number and access code to join a virtual conference room where members can interact with the moderator and other members. Conference calls can be used in conjunction with video conferencing to view presentations, ask questions via the Internet and discuss answers with all attendees.
Some communications, such as condolences, disciplinary issues, sensitive and confidential issues, should be handled with a personal phone call. Taking the time to make a phone call carries more weight than an impersonal text or email. Without the opportunity for two-way communication, sensitive issues may be misinterpreted. Text messages and emails become legal documents and can be retrieved as evidence long after deletion. Some businesses monitor and record phone conversations between employees and customers for training purposes. Deleted voice-mail messages may not be retrieved and do not leave a record of the conversation.
Making phone calls while driving may be hazardous, but Bluetooth technology makes hands-free dialing and conversation safe – freeing up travel time to provide availability for business calls. Texting and emailing while driving are hazardous and, in some states, illegal.
- My Voice Hub; The Importance of Telephone Communication; May 2010
- Call Centre Managers Forum: Is the Role of the Telephone Declining?; Graham Williams
- ChangingMinds.org: Mehrabian’s Communication Study
About the Author
Mary Nestor-Harper has more than 12 years as a human-resources director and more than 19 years experience as an HR/management consultant. She has been published in “Training Magazine,” “The Savannah Morning News” and on the Web. A television and radio business, career and motivation expert, she shares career and job search tips as Ageless Media Network’s career expert on WTKS-AM 1290, Savannah, Ga.
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