Why Email is Better Than the Telephone

By on February 23, 2004

I hate it when people call me on the phone. I’d much rather they use email. I got to wondering why this was so the other day, and here goes:

  1. Email is quicker.
    I’m at my computer anyway, so I don’t have to turn away and pick up the phone, look up a number, dial, etc. Ctrl-M gives me a new message in Thunderbird, and I’m on my way.

  2. Email addresses are easier to remember.
    Phone numbers are an arbitrary collection of digits. Email addresses are usually some form of “person@company.” I can remember hundreds of email addresses off the top of my head, but perhaps only two or three dozen phone numbers. Plus, most email clients will auto-complete email address as I start to input them — my phone won’t do that.

  3. The phone can be inconvenient.
    People may call when they don’t need something right now. But whether or not their need is right now, I have to turn and answer the phone right now.

  4. A lot of interactions are, by nature, segmented.
    In a lot of conversions with someone, you need to check with someone else about something, research something, wait for something to happen, etc. A lot of phone calls are ended because someone “offline” has to occur before they continue. This fits in perfectly with email.

  5. Email keeps track of itself.
    Email is a historical record of what happened. I have no “Previous Phone Calls” folder where I can go to figure out what was the last interaction I had with so-and-so. I can save an email message, forward it, turn it into an Outlook task, etc.

  6. Email is as fast as I can read.
    I don’t have to wait for a ponderously slow talker to get around to his or her point.

  7. You can skip niceties with email.
    Phone calls always start out with “Hello,” “How is the wife,” “Do you enjoy your new job,” “Did you bury the body deep enough,” etc. These are rather insulting little tidbits of speech because of one simple fact — no one much cares about the answers. But on the phone, you’re expected to make time-wasting small talk or else you sound rude.

  8. People will say things in email that they won’t say on the phone.
    Although this can be both a blessing and a curse, sometimes I just want people to shoot straight with me. Things they may feel uncomfortable saying on the phone, they have no problem dashing off in an email. This has been much more of a benefit than a curse for me.

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Comments

  1. Dave says:

    Amen! I hate the telephone; I'd much rather use e-mail.

    The one thing that drives me nuts though is when people don't reply to messages I've sent.

  2. Joe says:
    1. You're grumpy and don't like people. =)

    Actually, I agree with you on most of these, though. It's harder for me to mutter obscenities under my breath on the phone than it is while reading their email.

  3. Deane says:

    I am grumpy. And I don't like most people.

  4. TDavid says:

    Sorry, I disagree with most of this. Email, because of spam mostly, remains a flawed way to communicate. I just got through writing recently a blog entry about all the things that are wrong with email: http://www.makeyougohmm.com/pivotblg/entry.php?id=574

    Also, there is no definitive way to determine someone's emotion via email. How important is this to them? Are they angry? Or do they just type angry?

    Some people are horrible writers, unintentionally disguising their true feelings behind a few lines of text in an email, but when you hear someone speak, you can almost instantly tell what their state of mind is about a particular subject.

    If it's really important then a phone call is much superior to an email. Especially when it comes down to business deals.

    Email is a decent tool for follow-up and technical details, assuming you both have whitelists and both email addys are on it.

    Fax is still being used for business documents, signatures and the like.

  5. This is why even my wife and I exchange several emails a day instead of using the phone.

  6. E-mail my wife? Heck, I e-mail myself several times a day.

  7. razor says:

    i dont agree i think its better by telephone

  8. MarionTiger says:

    Email is documentation, plain and simple. If you don't know how to write, learn. I can't tell you how many times email has saved my butt because some says, "no, I told you we needed 3 pc's in that office"; only to go back and show them the email.

    People tend to think that other people that rely on email lack social skills and use email as a crutch. That couldn't be further from the truth for me.

    Also, how do you have a phone conversation with 20 people? With meetings going on all of the time, the ONLY way to communicate with multiple people is email... or additional meetings.

  9. Vincent Buckley says:

    People prefer one-to-one e-mails because they're wimps. It slows personal and business life down voluminously, avoids natural communication and totally eliminates all emotion and spontaneity. I'd rather hear the truth....like...umm.. uhh....well, ummmmmm....right now!? Ever seen a debate where Q and A's are pre-scripted? Why not do this in job interviews? Improv? Love making? Actually, I'd leave you my phone #, but my tele-prompter's down.

    'Ain't Nuthin Like the Real Thing, Baby!" Marvin Gaye

  10. None says:

    I Hate talking on the phone. In business dealings i like to get right to the point. I don't need to feel the vibe of the other person. I was on the phone with someone who was anti email because he can't type and it took him 20 mintues to answer one simple question that could have been handled in a quick im or email.

    Technology is here for a reason. to save time. Lazy old timers need to get with the program

  11. none 2 says:

    If you can't type or spell. LEARN

  12. none3 says:

    Pet peeve. stupid people

  13. tania says:

    hahaha......people are funny just get out a little it sounds like you all are deprived of air everyone has their owns ways deal with it :P

  14. wisdom waak says:

    To me, i prefere email to phon call because it gives time to analyse what ever the fellow is communicating and u can always refere to it later

  15. Tiffany says:

    I totally agreey and I would rather email all day long than use the phone. When you call someone they have to deal with you right then or you go to voice email. With email you can get back to the person at your own convience. I also like having a record so I can show someone - this is what I did or here is the email where I outlined everything.

  16. Tiffany says:

    I totally agreey and I would rather email all day long than use the phone. When you call someone they have to deal with you right then or you go to voice email. With email you can get back to the person at your own convience. I also like having a record so I can show someone - this is what I did or here is the email where I outlined everything.

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