The title of this post is a phrase I find myself using all the time. We “communicate” all day long by texting, by emailing, on Twitter, on Facebook, etc., but I wonder if we are really communicating. Even phone conversations seem to be a dying art.
The other day when I opened my e-mail in the morning, I found a very concerned message from an editor suggesting that one of my clients’ manuscript was deeply flawed and he suggested that he was going to have to reject it. I reminded him, again by e-mail, of the clause in the client’s contract requiring the publisher to provide a list of the problems and to give the writer a chance to rectify the situation. Over e-mail the issue certainly sounded dire and unfixable. But then he and I talked and he suggested that we call the writer together. He said he was going to tell her that one of her options was to put the current manuscript aside and begin a new one. This was a person whom he had only e-mailed with and whom I had also mostly communicated with by e-mail, so we had no idea how she would react.
First, the editor e-mailed my client to make a date to talk. This naturally freaked her out and she e-mailed me and asked what was going on. I told her a bit about the problem (again by e-mail) and said we would cover the rest in our talk. Frankly, I wasn’t sure she would participate in the conference call at all. She did, though, and when she was told on the phone that one of her options was to put the current novel aside and begin again, she was hugely relieved. She and I had a subsequent lovely and constructive conversation and we all “walked away” feeling good about what had seemed like an unfixable problem at the beginning of the day. We all felt much more positive and moving forward.
This all goes to prove that picking up the phone and talking can be far more effective and satisfying than e-mailing as this article in Forbes suggests.
It’s true that phone conversations take longer than e-mailing but often they get more accomplished. I don’t know about you, but I am going to try to talk more and e-mail less from now on and see what happens. I would be curious to hear what you think about all of this.