In today’s technological society communication is easily accessible at virtually any given moment. People are able to remain connected even across seas. Given this, there is a surprising social phenomenon that I’ve noticed lately, especially during the transitional progress of my college career. That phenomenon is the increasing annoyance of the traditional phone call. In fact, even in the work place, communication is starting to trend more to other immediate forms of communication such as e-mail. This trend is starting to cause confusion among job seekers and employees on when to use the appropriate forms of communication.
It is becoming more common to schedule a phone call instead of spontaneously calling and/or leaving a voicemail. If you think about it, this makes sense. Phone calls can be intrusive and annoying if you are not expecting them and it is pretty customary to provide specific call time for others who are trying to contact you. Today’s technology causes us to communicate on a highly macro level, even at an inter-office level. Many employees report receiving an average of 150 e-mails a day in the business field! From my perspective, working in an office setting even as an intern/entry-level employee, I would receive an average of 10-15 emails every couple of hours. Can you imagine if all those messages were delivered by phone call? The efficiency of e-mail also allows for prioritization and selectivity. In other words, messages get filtered through.
As you can probably tell, there are some specific etiquette tips that need to be remembered when it comes to communication in the work force, whether it be contacting an employer about a job, communicating in the office, or in some cases, communicating in general. Here are a few examples:
- If you receive a voicemail asking you to give a call back, do so. DO NOT RESPOND BY E-MAIL. Likewise, if you are the one leaving the message, be sure to leave a time that you can be reached. There is nothing more annoying than playing phone tag when you are trying to hear back on a job offer.
- E-mails are intended to be short, quick, and to the point. If you are intending to have a conversation through e-mail, you are doing it wrong. A good e-mail has all the questions or memos you need in one message.
- Don’t call someone more than once in a short period of time. If you have to leave a message, do so and wait for a call back. Depending on the urgency of the situation, use your judgment to determine if it has been long enough to inquire again (typically wait 1-2 days).
- Don’t make inter-office phone calls when e-mail would suffice.
- Consider before leaving a voicemail. Then consider again. It might be easier for both you and the recipient to just send an e-mail.
While I might disagree with the trend towards digital communication over personal, it is an important aspect while job seeking or being in the workforce. Hopefully this helps answer some questions about proper professional communication.
Related Article: How to Stay Professional on Your Mobile Phone