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Five Reasons Millennials Aren’t Answering Your Phone Call

Texting has overtaken phone calls as the most popular mobile function on our mobile devices, across all generations, according to mobile research agency Reality Mine. And Millennial women use texting/SMS three times more often than calling. That’s a lot of people using texting to communicate.

Phone calls have taken a backseat to texting ever since 2009, when the amount of text and e-mail messages, streaming video, music and other services on mobile devices surpassed the amount of cell phone calls made. And you can thank Millennials for leading the way: the virtual keyboard, multi-touch interface, predictive text technology — and the saving grace of the entire Millennial generation, automatic spell check — added up to instant Nirvana.

So if texting has become the standard, why do managers still get frustrated when their Millennial workforce doesn’t answer their phone?

Because it’s unproductive. More specifically, a phone call is:

  • Distracting. A phone call can sever focus, disrupt workflow, and draw people away from important projects and crucial timelines. A quick text to your employees lets them respond at a convenient time between projects.

  • Presumptuous. Phone calls presume that the person picking up on the receiving end should drop everything and adhere to your agenda. Texting (and email) is passive communication that doesn’t need real-life interaction.

  • Inefficient. Phone calls take up valuable time, and callers often meander until they land on why they called in the first place. Texting forces you to edit your thoughts into a clear, actionable message and creates a written record that can be referred back to endlessly so you get (and send) only essential information.

  • Ineffective. Missed calls result in phone tag, a supremely unnecessary game in an age of instantaneous communication alternatives. If a picture is worth a thousand words, is an emoji worth 500? Texting is quick, effective and efficient. In fact, 90% of all text messages are read within 3 minutes.

  • Time-consuming. The time costs of a “quick 5-minute call” can actually exceed 15-20 minutes including salutations, pleasantries, small talk, goodbyes, and the time it takes to refocus on the original task post-call. Some experts say it can take as much as 23 minutes to refocus on a task after a phone call. Texting limits unnecessary salutations and the exchange of irrelevant information, and the time cost of a text can be as low as a few seconds.

So, are phone calls still valuable? Of course, especially because voice, tone, or importance can’t be conveyed with the same power and urgency. So save those phone calls and elevate the productivity of your Millennial workforce by upping your texting game. You’ll be glad you did.

Ryan Jenkins

Ryan Jenkins is an internationally-recognized keynote speaker and author on the topics of leadership, generational differences, and the future of work. He is the co-founder of SyncLX, which creates lasting learning experiences for companies’ #1 asset, their people.