Is there a place for email? Most certainly. It is a waste of your time to play phone tag for an hour with a client. In an email you can concisely and clearly compose what you need to say so someone can easily reply, however phone calls still hold tremendous value that is many times underrated. When you actually pick up the phone to call someone, you remember that they are an actual person with feelings. It helps you be more empathetic, honest, and many times is clearer than emails.
Seth Horowitz, an auditory neuroscientist, said “We’re picking up and processing heard information within 50 milliseconds of someone speaking. A lot of this information doesn’t get processed at a cognitive level. Some of the first targets for heard information are emotional substrates, so [when] listening to someone’s voice, you’re picking up emotional gradients from them.” These emotional gradients are not communicated when you send an email and as a result can many times lead to miscommunication and hurt feelings. The stammering and pausing in a phone conversation can provide very valuable information.
Humans have evolved as listeners not readers, so next time you are about to send a controversial or easy-to-misunderstand email, keep this article in mind.