Phone calls are still good for business. They can leave both participants feeling more emotionally connected to the other than a simple text exchange can. Also, studies show that a phone call is better at detecting emotional nuances and misunderstandings than video calls, even though you’re relying on voice alone.
The study, conducted by researchers Amit Kumar and Nicholas Epley, shows that seeing the other person through a video call does not necessarily make the other person feel any more connected than simply talking with them over the phone. On the other hand, just being able to hear the other person’s voice tended to create more understanding and connection. Still, researchers didn’t discount text-based interactions or even email in several cases.
A phone call can seem like a nuisance to some. The interruption to the day may be one factor, as phone calls have earned the reputation of taking time. “There’s one more consideration often holding many of us back [from talking on the phone nowadays]—the difficulty of extracting yourself from the call once it’s begun,” writes Jessica Stillman for Inc.com. “Finding a graceful exit from a ‘just called to say hi’ conversation can be tricky, and most of us have experienced the agony of an acquaintance who won’t stop chattering away.”
In a study conducted in the U.S., which recently appeared in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that after analyzing thousands of phone conversations between family and friends and between strangers, usually one person wants to stop talking first. Politeness often keeps the other from interrupting. But as a result, conversations never ended when a participant was ready, which can hamper the effectiveness of a phone call.
“I’m hesitant to tell you that I’ve got 20 minutes to talk to you because I don’t want to appear rude, but actually it’s just going to make that conversation so much better for both of us because we know the rules; we know the terms of engagement,” Paul Dolan, a behavioral scientist at the London School of Economics, noted in a recent UK Guardian article, separate from the study.