My wife read my post about the communication levels of interruption and asked me whether I really thought I was such a guru that I can afford to be that cocky.
Oops. Seems I stepped on a banana skin.
In case you got the impression that I regard my schedule as sacred, I should have been clearer. Because phone calls are the most interruptive, I try to reserve phoning someone only for urgent matters. If getting a piece of writing done, for example, depends on one crucial number or answer to a question, then I think it’s fine to call.
Similarly, when you’re establishing connection, it’s fine to call. Especially in today’s business environment where many client/customer relationships start and flourish without the parties having face-to-face contact, the telephone is a wonderful medium for introducing a measure of personal contact and “feel” into the connection.
If, on the other hand, the subject of a phone call includes exact data, agreeing on schedules or something else that would require taking notes, it is better to use electronic means. For a number of reasons:
- Phone calls and voicemail require the recipient to use another tool for taking notes while listening
- Voice messages are prone to misunderstandings
- E-mail and other text-based communication document the conversation while it is being conducted – very useful for later reference
- Electronic messages are retraceable and searchable
- Electronic messages can be read at a suitable time allowing better concentration and more time to think, hence also more thorough and organized answers
From the above, I think we can conclude this: The more specific answer and the more urgently you need, the more you move up the interruption scale. The more detailed and exact information that is not time-critical you need or want to convey, the more you move down the interruption scale. Do you agree?