I like connecting with people and have always found the phone to be my preferred channel to do exactly that. If I can’t see you in person, I’d like to hear your voice. I’ll gladly read your words, but I’ll always prefer to embrace the words you say.
Recently I’ve been calling a list of companies in follow-up to a Matter mailing and that exercise has reminded me of my affinity for the phone. Some of my calls have been positively-toned, and some not so much. (That’s part of the gig…) In all cases the calls have been exciting – and often very entertaining. Case in point: this week I shared some information about our newly packaged TIP program on a call, and heard some details about a son’s start of freshman year at college. I’m a big fan of my time in college – uh, who isn’t? – but I’m also a big fan of that time of life in general. On these calls I’m not only introducing myself and my company, I’m picking up a piece of personal information that I can use as a connection in the future. Yes, that all can be achieved to a certain degree over email. But attaching a voice, one that supplies a sense of confidence and genuine interest in the conversation, is far more preferable. A good, high-energy interaction (while becoming rarer these days) lets the players read the situation by the words chosen, the volume at which they are delivered, and the tone they convey.
If I prefer the personal touch of the phone in sales situations, it’s certainly no surprise that I prefer the same opportunity to chat live with media contacts when I’m pitching a client. The media relationships I maintain today are a serious source of pride for me, and I can remember numerous lengthy calls with many of these people over the years. More than a few of those calls were way off topic – but the discussion helped strengthen the relationship, built up a level of trust and provided continuity for future pitches. Again, email is the perfect tool of convenience, but I doubt the people I consider friends in the media community would consider me the same if I hadn’t often picked up the phone to connect with them.
I’m always impressed by those adept at setting the perfect tone in an email or letter. I’m extremely fortunate to be surrounded by a strong set of writers here at Matter. They are spot-on when they deliver their messages in pitch notes, press releases and all other communications, and, with obvious exceptions, their content is always a pleasure to read. But what really makes our team exceptional is that they always know when picking up the phone is the best fit for the situation. They know that some calls, especially cold calls, can be lengthy, inconvenient and potentially awkward or nasty. But they also know that over the phone is often where the best PR relationships are formed and where the best results lay. When it’s time for a connection, do you reach for the keyboard instead of the phone? Maybe you should give your voice a chance to convey your message and let me know how it goes.