One of the things we all know in the modern era is that the easiest way to communicate is through an electronic text format. We communicate through email, text, messenger, or a Team application. One of the easiest ways is via text. It’s also the default way of communication.  

 

 

I really want to challenge everyone today to use voice communication. After 2020, especially with everyone working off site, we need to stop using so much electronic text and have a lot more of the communication flow via voice. In 2021, it’s not about we know this; we have got to do this. 

 

 

I want to bring up a really important example of this from my friend, Bill Gallagher, who is also a coach. Take the sentence “I didn’t say you were wrong.” Emphasize each word differently and see what happens. 

 

 

didn’t say you were wrong.  

When I emphasize I, what are you going to think? Well, someone else said that I was wrong. 

 

 

didn’t say you were wrong. 

When I emphasize didn’t, you are going to think that I didn’t say it at all. 

 

 

I didn’t say you were wrong. 

You might think that I didn’t say it, but I might have thought it or wrote it. 

 

 

I didn’t say you were wrong. 

You might think that I didn’t say you were wrong, but maybe I think someone on your team was wrong or your spouse was wrong. 

 

 

I didn’t say you were wrong. 

Maybe you think I am saying you are not wrong right now, but you may be in the future.  

 

 

I didn’t say you were wrong. 

Maybe you assume I don’t think you’re wrong, but maybe you think I feel you’re just misled, or you didn’t get it exactly right.  

 

 

The point is every single word sends a totally different message to the receiver depending on which words you emphasize. Now imagine sending that message via email or text. What if you posted that on a chat? It could be received in so many different ways. It’s open to interpretation when being done via any text method. 

 

 

We’ve been talking about the importance of using voice communication for over 30 years. I was introduced to email around 1991, and we’ve been discussing using voice for important communication ever since email was introduced.   

 

 

Go back and read all the ways that you could say, “I didn’t say you were wrong,” and realize how it could be misinterpreted. Then make a commitment to using voice communication. The critical next step is to take massive action. What I mean by that is you must set a communication plan. People have been debating for the past 5 to 10 years about what is the best way to communicate in a business. People debate what is the best electronic method for communication. 

 

 

I am going to suggest that you mandate that all important messages be delivered through some sort of voice platform of your choosing. It could be phone or an electronic voice platformFor example, we use Voxer in our company, and it works great for us by reducing the risk of misunderstanding. After you decide on a voice platform, you can decide which electronic text platform to use to deliver other less important messages. 

 

 

Anything important has got to start with an attempt to do it via voice.  

 

 

Now, I know your argument. You will say, “But, Wade, that’s going to take so much time. How are we going to make all the time for this voice communication? 

 

 

Remember the key to this. It’s the important messages that must be delivered via voice. If it’s important or you’re worried about how the message will be received, then maybe take one minute and do voice.  

 

 

Another excuse I hear is: “But, Wade, people don’t answer their phones.” Well, leave a voice mail. Another option is to use a messenger app that will send a video or voice message. We are talking about going from electronic text to electronic audio. It’s not that much hard to send an electronic audio message or to listen to it. 

 

 

Why should you take the time to communicate via voice? Because building trust, collaboration, and engagement are some of the key things inside teams and inside businesses. Nothing destroys trust, collaboration, and engagement more than a misinterpreted message. For the important messages, default to voice. 

 

 

For the highest maturity, figure out a way to deliver the really important messages via video. 

 

 

Switching to electronic audio or video makes a huge difference. Yeah, it’s an unlearning event; we have to unlearn our dependence on electronic text. The rewards are huge, and it doesn’t take that much more time or effort. 

 

 

The mandate to use voice communication must come from leadership because if we aren’t forced into it, it won’t happen. And it’s a mandate for good. It’s a mandate to get better trust, collaboration, and engagement. 

 

 

I can promise you that you will see a measurable difference in trust, collaboration and engagement within 30 days if you use voice communication. 

 

Written by: Wade Wyant

Red Wagon Advisors, West Michigan Scaling Up Coach