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Texting v. Calling: Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!

Millennials and texting vs calling

Which of these scenarios frustrates you more?

Scenario 1: You dial your coworker. You hear five rings, then the unmistakable tone of a voicemail box. You leave a long, detailed message describing exactly when you are calling, what you need, and how you can be reached. You hang up. Two seconds later, your phone vibrates. It’s a text message. It’s from the person you just called and it reads, “Hey. Saw you called. What’s up?”

Scenario 2: You text your coworker. In order to do this, you take both hands off the keyboard, but leave your earbuds in. You type your specific comment or question quickly and efficiently and press send. You put the phone down and continue your work. Two seconds later, your phone vibrates. It’s ringing. It’s the person you just texted. You don’t have time for a call, so you let it go to voicemail, hoping they leave you an answer. Later, you listen to the voicemail, and it says, “Hey. Got your text. Give me a shout. Thanks. Bye.”

Depending on which scenario gave you the “Bitter Beer Face,” you’ll know if you’re a millennial… or… pretty much anybody else.

This is the battle royale going down at workplaces everywhere.

In this corner, you have traditional employees who value physical presence or a voice to convey a message.

In that corner, you have a millennials who value fast and efficient communication in a message.

So who wins?

Well, considering the fact that the professional millennial population is the fastest growing in today’s workplace, if they aren’t winning now, they will be someday.

But take heart! Not all is lost. In fact, there are quite a few reasons to put your money in the millennial’s corner. Consider these heavyweight matches the next time you approach a coworker’s desk instead of pinging them on instant messenger:

Texting v. Calling: The Matchups

Consideration: Texting wins!

Texting makes no presumptions about a person’s time or availability. It conveys a message passively, and does not require an immediate response from the receiver. It allows the receiver to respond when their schedule allows.

Efficiency: Texting wins!

Texting gets right to the heart of the matter. It removes all the unnecessary small talk and frivolous conversation that surrounds the purpose of a phone call. It also prevents the loss of focus associated with a call or unexpected visitor (which is up to 15 minutes in some studies!).

Effectiveness: Texting wins!

Texting gathers all the relevant information in one place. It forces both parties to put their thoughts into words which allows for greater clarity and less misinterpretation. It keeps messages succinct and to the point.

Productivity: Texting wins!

Texting removes the dread game of “phone tag” from the office environment. It allows the user to maintain productivity and respond to messages at an appropriate time so as not to derail progress. It keeps people focused on the task at hand.

Thinks about these match ups the next time you pick up the phone to call your millennial coworker.

Fight fire with fire, and you just might win.

Question: What does your organization do to bridge the communication gap among generations?

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5 Responses

  1. My answer is that it depends. Texts are great for a quick q&a. If there are a series of questions from both parties (provides clarification on a task/situation,)
    a phone call can be quicker and more efficient. Sometimes, texting is so short hand that it is difficult to cover details.

  2. Sometimes it’s important to consider the existing professional relationship you have with the person you are communicating with and how the method of communication will influence that relationship. Texting may be most efficient and productive, but may put distance between you and a co-worker you are trying to develop a stronger professional relationship with. Also, sometimes you can gain valuable insight into that person by hearing their tone of voice over the phone. Along the same lines, sometimes it’s best to take a walk to see them so you can look them in the eye and see their body language as they respond to your question. There may be lots of little cues you can pick up on that will make you more successful achieving your goal.

  3. Love this article!
    I definitely see lost productivity due to phone tag and small talk. I think there is a time and place for everything, but I agree that sending quick concise messages that live in one digital space allows for better time management and organization.

    I think there is also something to be said about respecting not only your own time, but other employee’s or client’s time during work hours. In our office at Plasticity Labs we use something called Hipchat by Atlassian (think new age MSN Messenger). Having IM at work really speeds up communication time and it is awesome for file sharing. We have group chats or individual chats depending on who you need to talk to. It is essential when it comes to productivity.
    Overall I think this is a very interesting topic, and I am intrigued to see how the workplace norm changes as we Millennials populate the workforce.
    All my best,
    Lacey Heels

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