Although we’re now so used to being attached to our mobile phones, the thought of answering or making phone calls makes many people feel quite nervous. Unlike with email or instant messaging, phone calls don’t offer the luxury of being able to edit what you’ve already said or to proofread it. The real-time nature of phone calls can, for many people, evoke feelings of anxiety.

Since people now have more ways to communicate than ever before, avoiding making phone calls in favour of another form of communication is a fairly easy thing to do. This doesn’t mean, however, that it’s the right thing to do. There are many instances where speaking on the phone would be more productive than writing an email.

1985: Comedian Ernie Wise made the first “public” mobile phone call in the UK from outside the Dickens Pub on St Katherine’s dock to Vodafone’s HQ.

When is a phone call the right form of communication?

It’s common to default to email as an easy way of requesting or sharing information. Whilst email certainly has a time and a place, you shouldn’t necessarily think of it as the go-to option; a phone conversation, despite it seeming like more effort, is often the most efficient and effective choice of communication. You can’t form a business relationship over email: it has to happen over the phone or face-to-face. A lot of time is wasted with back-and-forth email chains and it can be time consuming to reply even to short emails, especially when you don’t have all the information you need to hand.

UK workers are sent, on average, 40 emails a day which require a response. It’s no surprise then that some emails get left behind and are not responded to.

How do I know when I should make a phone call?

Since people now have more ways to communicate than ever before, avoiding making phone calls in favour of another form of communication is a fairly easy thing to do. This doesn’t mean, however, that it’s the right thing to do. There are many instances where speaking on the phone would be more productive than writing an email:

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