A recent post on Young Entrepreneur quoted a survey showing that young entrepreneurs prefer using email in business.
It was found that when going after clients the rate of phone use drops by 30% for entrepreneurs in their 20’s compared to their counterparts in their 40’s.
Are we hiding behind our email or is it simply an evolution in the way our generation prefers to do business?
Growing up in a pure Internet social network, many young people getting out of college today probably consider it the norm to communicate through Web 2.0 tech and instant messages rather than an in-person meetings or phone calls. We all grew up socializing on instant messenger clients outside of our regular school day. We ran Xangas and blogs for our friends to keep up with our daily actions. We even got the benefit of Facebook and Twitter just before graduating, so that even when we were busy finishing up classes and getting a job, there was always a social network online for us.
Whether it is this upbringing or not, I realize in business that I prefer to email first and call later. In an email, I feel like I can fully introduce myself and establish a rapport without interrupting someone’s day or badgering them. Once intros are aside, I can move on to the phone.It would seem like our first instinct would be emailing others. In that way, I don’t fully rely on email as my only form of communication.
Does our Internet-first nature make us bad business people?
The study points out that face-to-face meetings are more successful in business and that email is slightly less effective–20 percent less–than these face-to-face meetings.
I don’t personally believe that preferring to communicate through email is that detrimental to business. In sales, one might argue that phone time is the best way to close a deal, but in other business functions, email can certainly be more productive because of the multitasking and less intrusive approach. Email has caught on the primary communication tool for business, so barring getting caught in the spam filter, I feel like it is the most effective way to communicate with business associates and clients throughout my day.
I can email seven people in the time it might take me to make one phone call, so by using email, I manage my time better and get more messages across to others. When a matter is urgent or a relationship is there, I can also jump on the line and use the phone.
If you are about to break into the world of business, think about your own use of email over the phone. If you are a completely email-centric person and use it as a crutch, you should make an effort to build up your skills on the phone. Even if you do think email is a more effective way of communicating–as I do–you have to keep in mind that your bosses and superiors will most likely be of the generation that prefers to go to the phones more often. They will want to see that you are able and willing to handle the phone side of business in addition to your tidy inbox.