How do you feel about phone calls? Personally, I hate them. I’ve never been much for talking on the phone; even in high school I preferred IM and text to phone calls. It’s actually kind of ironic that I hate phone calls so much, because my phone is never more than three feet away from me. Of course, as we all know, chatting is the least of what phones can do now. I love love love my email, Twitter, Facebook, text messages, and on and on.
But back to phone calls. The truth of the matter is, I think they’re rude. Now, this opinion doesn’t extend to scheduled calls – those are just fine and dandy. But take a minute and think about what an unexpected phone call really means.
It means that the person on the other end expects you to stop whatever it is that you’re doing to focus on them and their agenda. That’s rude. I don’t think most people are being intentionally rude, but it is pretty self-centered to expect that the person you’re calling is thinking about the same issue you’re calling about and has the time to discuss it right then.
I understand that the phone used to be the primary method of doing business, but things have changed. Yes, there are some things are better to talk about over the phone, but send an email to set up a good time to call someone. This way the other person can gather their thoughts on the subject, give some thought to whatever you’d like to discuss, make sure that they’re able to hit all of the points that they want to cover in your conversation, and – most importantly – make sure they have time to focus on your call.
I think for the most part, work-related calls aren’t intentionally rude. We all get caught up in whatever it is that we’re working on and can (incorrectly) assume that everyone else is caught up in the same thing. But there is one type of phone call that I just cannot abide.
The sales call.
Stop it. Stop it right now. It is 2012. Do not call me to sell me something. Not only is it rude (see above), but guess what? I will automatically put you on a “last resort” list. That means that I will only purchase your product or service if I have absolutely no other option. (Think, it’s the end of the world and you have all the clean water.) Calling me does not get you bumped to the top of the list. It gets you taken off the list.
Do you have a great product or service that you know I would just love? Awesome. Email me. Tweet me. Hell, send me a text message if that’s what you’ve gotta do. Just don’t call. It makes me cranky.
What do you think? Are phone calls rude, or just business as usual?
*These rules do not apply to my mother. She gave birth to me, she can (and does) call me whenever she wants.