You have so many options to reach people, which means you have to make a decision about the best way to make contact. Choose the wrong medium for your message and your message gets lost or misunderstood. Of course you’re not going to end a relationship by text message; in other cases the right communication choice isn’t so clear.
The first thing to always keep in mind is that you and everyone else is crazy busy and distracted. That’s why you usually choose the easiest medium for your message, even though it may not be the best.
Here are things people tend to forget as soon as they hear them:
And….because these things tend to slip in people’s memories, they (we) also tend to fill in the blanks with what we think we remember, or what makes sense in our minds, regardless what was actually said. Sound familiar?
So, if details are important to your message, use email. If emotional content is more important, like showing appreciation, it’s better to call the person.
However, all things being equal, voice mail is a more powerful message….precisely because they hear your voice!
The thing is, leaving voice mail takes a tad more effort, so it’s not as likely that your voice mail gets returned with voice mail. Leave alternative ways to contact you in your message. If you don’t know the person, your voice mail message makes it more likely that the other person will read and possibly answer your email.
If you need to leave a voice mail for some reason AND you want the other person to remember details, like your phone number, repeat it in the message slowly and give the other person time to grab a pen to write it down. Or call, leave a message AND follow up with email.
Think about what you want the other person to most remember from your message: details or emotion. Take into consideration the state of your relationship with this person. A voice mail has more power to build that relationship, if that’s what you want.