Recently, I found myself doing what many business people do, multi-tasking.  A talent we appreciate and find essential for survival in the work world, right?  

I was busy “listening” on a conference call while scanning my inbox and responding to a few emails.

In one exchange, I found myself on the receiving end of a message in bold CAPS, “WHY DOESN”T ANY ONE PICK UP THE PHONE ANY MORE!”

At first glance, I laughed because the sender of that message had initiated the email exchange in the first place, but soon after, I began to feel a bit defensive and for a moment, wanted to BOLDLY reply.

After further reflection, my defensiveness gave way to the realization that the sender of the message was exactly right; I needed to give that conversation 100 percent of my attention. It was a conversation that deserved voice-to-voice interaction. 

If I had instead waited until after the conference call to initiate further discussion through a phone call, things would have never escalated to an email “shouting” match. 

It turns out, we were actually on the same side, wanting the same end result. 

It is far too easy to misinterpret emails today: abbreviations and worse yet, unintended omission essential words like “not.”

I am not advocating doing away with multi-tasking. I am saying, take a moment and be sure we are present and connected on a human level, voice-to-voice—when the moment calls for it.  When there is potential for the message to be misunderstood, where there is room for misinterpretation, if there is a problem—PICK UP THE PHONE.