In Salmon of Doubt, author Douglas Adams was asked “What are the benefits of speaking to your fans via e-mail?” He answered, “It’s quicker, easier, and involves less licking.”
Maybe it’s due to introversion or maybe it is due to my efficient nature, but I tend use e-mail and text messaging to speak to people rather than call them on the phone. Easy and quick, made even easier and quicker with a smartphone. Thinking of questions I wish to ask a friend or simply having the time to respond to someone tends to happen at the most inconvenient times for the recipients. (I’m up and working; why aren’t you?) One can lose friends pretty quickly if one calls them at 4:00 in the morning to ask if they’d like to join you for lunch. (Have I mentioned I’m a morning person as well? Why do morning people tend to make friends with not-so-morning people?)
Now, don’t get me wrong—I do enjoy a good conversation. Also, I like people much more than I let on. I merely prefer those conversations to be in person. Physical feedback—facial expressions and body language—play an important part in being understood or misunderstood. If my friend looks away and focuses on her cell phone while we’re enjoying our salads at lunch, I’d probably be a little peeved. But if my friend focuses on folding laundry while I’m speaking with her on the phone, I probably wouldn’t notice. (Hmmmm. Not sure that’s really making my point. I enjoy multi-tasking myself.) If my friend misunderstands something I’m saying while we’re finishing those salads and preparing to salivate over a possible dessert we’re about to decline, it is easier to have the back-and-forth dialogue that can straighten it all out. Doing so over the phone gets trickier as it is so easy to talk over each other, thereby missing out on whole sentences. (Did you just say your diapered dog just kissed a deer on a hayride?) And, worst of all, there’s the whole “How to end the conversation” issue!
One of the downsides to sending e-mails is that my style of sending those messages tends to be what one friend called “terse.” (Now that I think about it, maybe she’s no longer my friend. Haven’t heard from her in ages!) I get to the point—ask the question or provide information requested and get out. They have stuff and things to do as do I, and I don’t want to take up too much of their time since several of my friends claim they get tens of thousands of e-mails a day. (I only get about 50 per day and feeling a little left out.) Okay, so I realize that this may be perceived as impersonal. I get it and am trying to improve on that. “Good morning, Friend! I do hope this finds you well and having a fabulous day!”
Is there a difference in how extroverts and introverts choose to communicate? According to Business Communication Coach, Nancy Ancowitz:
“The tugs on our sleeves are different. If you’re an introvert, you feel the tug to solve problems alone in your cubicle, corner office, or Batcave. If you’re an extrovert, that sounds like solitary confinement. The tug on your sleeve is to bounce your ideas off others, brainstorming energetically out loud.”
I suppose introversion is one reason why my computer and I get along so well (except when it chooses to become a tantrum-throwing computer similarly to a two-year-old tantrum-throwing human). It serves as my own little “Batcave.” With the vast Internet as a resource, many solutions can be presented with several clicks of a mouse. Okay, maybe lots and lots of mouse clicks. And lots of reading. And source verification. Yeah. I probably need a nap now.
How do you prefer to communicate with your friends? Do your communication methods change when communicating with business colleagues? Leave a comment and let’s have a conversation!
Adams, D. (2002) Salmon of Doubt Harmony (US) and Macmillan HB (UK)
Nancy Ancowitz http://www.nancyancowitz.com/