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Top Five Reasons to Pick Up the Phone… One Reason To Hang Up

Just recently I discovered that the phone exists outside the car and WOW that thing is magical…

People havenʼt stopped using phones, we just use them in different places. Vehicles for example. Have you noticed that most people, (not you), only talk on the phone while driving? If you live in one of those neo-socialist states that long ago removed the personal responsibility of in-vehicle communications, then think way-back, back to when you had the choice to be stupid. Cruising at highway speeds, turning one-handed into school parking lots to drop off kids – little darlings madly texting away in the backseat before school, driver laughing with one hand holding the phone to their ear, the other hand waving and gesturing wildly. Whatʼs steering that beast-a-burden anyway? Letʼs not even talk about texting while driving. Text me from prison if you think this is a good idea.

Itʼs true though, really. I know you see that person and see them all the time.

Yikes!Once the distraction of driving is behind us…we plant our super-sized butts into our Herman Miller Chairs (if you have an extra one can I have it?) and fire-up Instant Messaging and E-mail, while our phones sit and charge for the next road trip. I donʼt have proof yet, only have it on ʻgood authorityʼ that E-Mail and/or the improper use of E-mail has been responsible for more conflicts around the world than spices, religion, competition for resources or land and even alien technology combined. E-mail is innocent looking but powerful, like a nuclear powered night light.

Is it your experience or just mine that more and more important conversations are started by E-Mail or a text message?

I have compiled the Top Five Reasons to Pick Up the Phone:

  1. Disconnected Empathy – You have no idea what the current mood or mindset of the person on the other end of the email is. This could be the worst day of their life or they might be faced with a major catastrophe on the horizon. No way to tailor back that message to include a little empathy. You simply canʼt make a good assessment of the personʼs reaction and adjust the rest of the message to meet their mindset, leading to misunderstanding. My friendʼs dad used to always say “watch your Pʼs and Qʼs.”


  • Misunderstanding – Even the most carefully crafted letter is without verbal intonation leading the reader to misinterpret your tone. Our busy schedules lead us to be too brief and E-mail comes off so short and even rude. Iʼve read suggestions to share the subject first, start with a personal greeting, bullet point information provided, label questions as such and only ask one. Indicate any further action and then end with a pleasantry. Sometimes this helps but we eliminate the immediate Q&A a true conversation provides. For those that donʼt think about intonation as Top Five Reasons to Pick Up the Phone… One Reason To Hang Up. Important …Intonation is that “soundy-thingy” that Aunt Sally does when she provides a back-handed complement and you witness even the cat rolling their eyes.
  • Impersonal – Itʼs easy to be rude or even hostile in a few lines of text in an email. A relationship, even a phone one, brings out the humanity in even the meanest CEO. I donʼt want to work with a robot, do you?
  • Continuation of thought – Broken messages back and forth over an extended period of time eliminates the benefit of abstract thinking, brainstorming and collaborative problem-solving. One can mow through more content in a conversation than in back and forth emails. Back and forth messaging and e-mailing eliminates the passion we require as creative animals. Just my opinion, but try it and then follow up with a single summary email that provides record for all. Listen, think, add input – repeat.


  • Makes it worse – Bad news travels fast. Bad news is the ultimate sin of e-mail. With the one-sidedness of e-mail also comes the lack of personalization, chance for misunderstanding and complete disconnection by the sender. Why make a bad situation worse by adding all these variables. Never send bad news by e-mail.

And the Top Single Reason to Hang Up:
1. Youʼre not driving if youʼre talking – My kids ride bikes on the same roads as these mind dead zombies plow over pavement in their 4k lb. phone booths. If you see them, tellʼem to “Hang it up”.

Let me know when YOU think its best to e-mail and when itʼs best to pick up the phone. Any “whacked out” experiences result from e-mailing when you should have had a conversation? Please share!


Gary Camarato
Creative Director | Optima Graphics

Categories: Business
  1. September 26, 2011 at 9:12 am

    Excellent post, Gary. Message rings extremely true, and I was laughing out loud reading it to my coworkers in the Duo office!!

  2. Gary Camarato
    September 26, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Thanks for reading Claire!

  3. September 26, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    Gary — One more reason. There’s absolutely no chance you’ll hit “Reply All” when you meant to click “Reply.” If you’re like me, you’re probably still studying carpet tiles every time you see Sally from Accounting . . . who received your snide, sarcastic email about her.

  4. Mary D
    September 26, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    Hope you didn’t type this all on your way to work! Just kidding, good post!

  5. Rafael Gomez
    September 27, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    10 Reasons To Avoid Talking On The Phone – The Oatmeal


    • Gary Camarato
      September 27, 2011 at 2:54 pm

      That’s Great!

  6. Richie Toth
    October 1, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Gary, my dad was happy to see that someone—-someone —actually paid attention. As young as we were at the time, we could’nt afford to pay attention.

    It never seems to amaze me how we now look back at those times and remember those little sayings that at the time meant nothing to us, but as we grew up how we can reflect back to them.

    Nice Job !!!

  7. July 2, 2014 at 9:46 am

    Great top five! With you all the way.

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