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Are we losing the phoney war?

A key essence to business success is communication. ‘Of course it is you dunderhead,’ I can hear you all say.

We do business with people we know and trust and have a rapport with. I’ve known top technical experts kicked off projects because they were absolute merchant bankers – and I don’t mean they worked in finance. They just couldn’t communicate.

So here’s a little quiz. What’s the best way to communicate?

Without doubt the ‘face-to-face’ is unbeatable. You have eye contact; you see expressions, the raise of a eyebrow; the body language.

So what’s next best way to communicate? The current vogueis email – long diatribes, often with attachments to make them even longer. Then there is SMS, WhatsApp, Tik-Tok and the like.

But the big loser is all of this is the humble telephone. We all have mobile phones and we seem to use them for everything except phoning. Tap. Tap. Tap.

I love the phone as a phone. You can do all sorts of things on the telephone (you’ve a filthy mind.) You can smile on telephone; try doing that on a email.

You get the tone-of-voice right. Persuasion, hestitation, frustration, gratitude.

Written words have the great ability to be misinterpreted if one word is phrased the wrong way. And, of course there are the typos: ‘The sh*t to the foot,’ for example.

And, unless the slimey creep at the far end is recording it, there is no record of what was said. And you can always correct yourself if the person at the other end is getting the wrong end of the stick.

So how about Zoom and Teams. They are the next best thing, but we all know we are ‘on TV’ and our reactions change accordingly.

Finally, phone calls can be short.

By the time you have written a 200 work e-mail proofed read it, you could have had a ten-second phone call.

How long does it take to send an SmS: : Anyone fancy a pint after work?

Have a good weekend.

Tom