Don’t Leave a Voice Mail Message

The Detroit emergency manager spokesman has ticked off some reporters because he asked reporters to not leave him voice mail messages.

His reasoning? They take too long to respond to.

I don’t disagree with him. When I worked for a major police department, and there was a big case, it was almost impossible to keep up with voice mail. Emails were easier. With voice mail, I’d have to pick up the phone, dial, enter codes and wait to hear what the caller needed. Then I’d have to track the information down, find the person’s email and send it, or I’d have to return the call. With email, I could take a quick glance and determine immediately what the person needed.

In my current position, I’m often in meetings and there is no way for me to answer a call. But if there is a five-minute break, I can pull up my email and quickly respond. Smart phones also help because I can always have my email at hand, which means that even in a busy airport where I can’t hear anything, I can quickly peruse my emails and respond.

Voice mails and, more importantly, a phone conversation still have their place in business, particularly if you need to ensure understanding. Sometimes, having a conversation whether on the phone or face-to-face provides much needed clarity.

In this era of technology, it makes sense to use the tools that make one most efficient given the setting.