Email is quick and convenient, but nothing packs more punch than speaking to someone live—either in person or on the phone. Yet people today often view phone calls as an annoyance for many reasons. You don’t want to interrupt a person, so you play it safe and send them an email or text instead. Or you figure you’ll just get their voicemail, so you don’t bother to call. But the voice conveys critical information that gets lost in written medium.

A recent study showed that emotions portrayed in our own voices influence our moods. The findings, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), suggest that not only do we use our voice to communicate emotions to others, but we actually listen to our own voice to gather information on how we are feeling. If our voice sounds sad, we feel sad. If our voice sounds excited, strong or confident, we feel that way, too.

Perhaps that explains why talking maximizes the impact of a conversation. Your perception of someone changes when you hear that person’s voice. And according to the PNAC study, your perception of yourself changes, too. You have just gotten closer to knowing each other as real people. And that in itself changes the nature of the relationship moving forward.

So if you want to build a successful relationship with someone, meet them in person or pick up the phone. You’ll have an exchange you simply would not be able to have in a text. Especially when important business decisions are to be made, you want to speak live.

If you want to have a serious exchange of ideas, get advice, explore a new idea, or just get a better feel for what someone is thinking, a live conversation is the way to go.

Voice is different than other forms of communications. With social networking, email, and text, people can respond when it’s convenient. Sometimes that convenience is important—but there’s a tradeoff. Unlike the written word, voice obliges a real time response and creates a space to explore new things.

Small talk is a critical part of that exploration. You have no idea where small talk will lead. You might talk about places to live or travel. Maybe you learn your client likes to ski or golf—or just had their first child. You also learn things about their business you didn’t know before.

So the next time you want to share important details with someone, why not pick up the phone? You might be surprised by the results.

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