In the business world, there are phone people, and there are email people. I’ll admit right upfront that I’m an email person. There are situations when phone or face-to-face meetings are necessary or more appropriate, but for most day to day issues, I think email is great.

Consider this scenario: I send an email checking on the status of something. The other person gets the email, and realizes they need to ask me something that basically requires a yes or no answer.

Instead of emailing, they phone me. Naturally, I miss the call and they leave me a long message re-explaining the entire situation, asking me the question, and leaving their contact information and the times they can be reached.

I have to log into my voicemail, retrieve the message, listen to it (possibly more than once) and take down the contact info. Then I call them back – and, you guessed it – they’re not available. By the time I finally get them tracked down and give them their answer, I’ve probably spent a good 10-15 minutes intermixed with other tasks. That’s not that long, you say. Perhaps not on its own, but that’s not the only issue I have to deal with in a day.

Let’s be very conservative and say that I only have 10 such issues per day:

  • Email: 1-2 minutes to reply x 10 incidents = 10-20 minutes per day

  • Phone: 10-15 minutes to reply x 10 incidents = 1.5-3 hours per day

So with email, I can be about 900% more efficient. Is this a no-brainer, or am I missing something here?