While I’m guilty of it myself, I still firmly believe that a phone call is better than a text or email when it comes to business matters. Personally, I may defer to the text especially now as the parent of two kids since any sort of communication with anyone outside of my family is best left to text unless the person I’m talking to would like to hear screaming in the background and getting unexpectedly hung up on. I used to rely too much on email for staff and business communication, and those missives conveyed more than facts or basic information like the statistics of a new beer release or adjusted holiday hours. A few years ago I met with a business and leadership consultant who helped steer me away from what I thought was a convenient form of communication and revealed the many obvious ways email and texts became a form of miscommunication.
I used to think it was easier for all parties involved to default to email, forgetting that the nuances of communication are best served with a human touch and not a quick send. Personnel matters, even marketing ideas, cannot be wholly captured in an email and it’s that personal connection that drives solutions and resolutions. Email blurs all sorts of boundaries, including time, and it can be used as a crutch. It tends to disregard connection and relationship, and sets the dangerous precedent that conversations need to occur outside of business hours. Sure, the ease is the greatest lure. Look: I can do business at anytime, anyplace! Look at me! I am winning at this.
The truth is, I wasn’t. I don’t think anyone is when they get emails of an important nature at 3 a.m. I resolved, and I encouraged our crew at the brewery, to rethink email. To replace the rushed typing with an in-person conversation or phone call. I work from home now so I do phone calls. Often I’ll be halfway through composing an email and pause and ask myself, wait, is this appropriate? Usually, the email is deleted and I grab my phone.
It’s hard breaking old habits, and especially juggling two kids, it’s tempting to rely on digital communication. But it’s not effective, and typically the intent of my message is lost or misconstrued. It saves time to be direct, and to not endure the endless email reply chain and forget what the original purpose was. Plus, it’s all the better to actually chat with a real person, check in, and share fun ideas or sort through any concerns.
All of this is, and should be, extremely obvious, but technology has warped our interpersonal relationships, so I have to remind myself that just because the email option is available, it needn’t always be deployed. My mom always likes to say: pick up the phone and call your mother. This is sound advice, and I’ll also add, pick up the phone and call your employees, your co-workers, your associates.
Save that email for another day.
Maggie Doherty is the owner of Kalispell Brewing Company on Main Street.
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