The telephone is the most important piece of office equipment you have. Although it shares certain attributes with email, there are several areas where the telephone excels.
It's immediate. Although voice mail is the bane of our existence, once you are talking with someone, you can resolve situations immediately. There's no need to send a message and wait before you get a response. Time is a premium these days but too often we spend too much time checking emails for responses. Between land lines and cell phones, it's never been easier to reach people immediately.
It's honest. Since the telephone is so immediate, people don't have the luxury of waiting and carefully composing the "correct" answer to your inquiries. You get the opportunity to hear spontaneity or hear that catch in the voice while an answer is calculated.
It’s an opportunity for give and take. Although text messaging can give you the appearance of the give and take in a conversation, messaging cannot possibly convey the shadings and meanings that voices can.
It's easier to discern a person's meaning. The voice is a powerful communication tool. It's powerful for the speaker as well as the listener. As a speaker, you use inflections, pauses, tones and shading to help convey your meaning. When you are the listener, you use the speaker's voice to help discern what isn't being said. Our voices say our words and meanings but a good listener is able to figure out if there is a difference between the two.
Today, many people opt to take the easy way out by avoiding situations involving verbal communication. However, communication skills must be used regularly in order to keep them sharp. It's the old "use it or lose it" syndrome. If we don't speak to each other regularly, we fall out of the habit of being good listeners; we fall out of the habit of using our voices and our words to their best advantage. Using the telephone to conduct actual conversations get us better results though better communication.