For work at home professionals, the nature of our “workplace” can be . . . well, a barrier. Traditional work relationships are based on manning a desk or cubicle in an office. Co-workers pool resources to produce, sell and maintain a product or service. When you work at home or on the go, “out of sight, out of mind” can easily prevail. Whether you are a home-based entrepreneur or a telecommuter, you don’t want to be forgotten by clients or colleagues.
Many work at home professionals are already making the most of today’s communication tools. You may use e-mail, instant messenger and social media like Twitter or Face Book to stay visible. These useful communication tools may be the right course in some situations, but more personal and immediate connections are necessary to stay connected.
I don’t know about you, but once I have responded to a slew of e-mails or spent a few moments on Facebook, I have to move on to completing work projects. E-mail messages can get lost in the crowd. It’s weird that we tend use every technology tool on the market – except, one of the oldest and most basic, yet effective.
Yes, the telephone!
The telephone is an essential lifeline to your business or career. Telephone and conference calls provide a personal exchange that cannot be mimicked by any other technology tool.
Let’s explore three benefits that the telephone offers over e-mail, instant messenger or social media.
1. Nuances of Vocal Color
How your client or colleague says something is just as important as what they say – if not more. When you HEAR communication, your brain processes not only the words, but also the tone of voice, pitch and speed. Vocal color can change the meaning, entirely. For instance, if your clients snarls while saying “I am so pleased with the project.”, you might be prompted to dig for more details. Conversely, you won’t hear a snarl in e-mail.
2. Pure Response
Phone conversations allow you to receive immediate unfiltered reactions from your colleagues and / or clients. You know the kind: You’ve heard the long pause, the quiet gasp or inhale before the words even leave their mouth.
Unlike e-mail, IM or social networking, there is no time to rearrange the wording or confer with a thesaurus before hitting send. There is great value in a “pure” response. Even in silence, cues can be taken to help you better service your clients, work more cohesively with your team or correct a misunderstanding before it gets out of hand or clarify what you’ve said.
3. The Power of Laughter
For virtual workers, collaboration and relationships are everything. One of the best ways to foster relationship is to laugh together. Understanding your colleagues’ sense of humor is key. It can help you develop rapport or smooth an issue with a more seasoned one. I don’t know about you but, reading LOL, RFOL or TEE HEE just doesn’t have the same impact as an infectious giggle.
The long recession is taking a bite out of everyone’s bottom line. With something as simple and available as the telephone, why not do what you can to stay visible – so that you continue to flourish!