Whether it's a vital soulmate, a new girlfriend, a reconnection after years, or the fifth conversation of the day...here are a few things I've learned about talking on the phone.
1) Tell stories. Give details. The "what did you do today?" question can either be the beginning of boredom or the source of sharing life with the other person. Lean towards story telling, not the rundown of the schedule.
2) Plan ahead. Whether it's business or pleasure, respect the person's quality of time by thinking through the topics of discussion in your head before you call.
3) Ask good questions. "What's up?" is ok. "How are you feeling now that your project is finished?" shows that you remember what's going on in their life and that you don't always just think about your own.
4) You can call them back. There are times when you have to take a call. However, there aren't as many as you might think. Respect the person you set up lunch with, ran into at the mall, and, for heaven's sake, the cashier by calling what's-his-name back in ten minutes when you can actually focus on one conversation at a time.
5) Texts are efficient and cowardly. They are great for sharing information letting your girlfriend or wife know you're thinking about her as you run in and out of meetings or jump on the plane. However, never try to get a girlfriend or wife by using a text.
6) Send them pictures of things you know they would be interested in. Cameras are on phones now. Use them. Wisely. Tip to remember...Your girlfriend wants to know you're thinking about her. Your bros...not so much.
7) Tone is everything. "Hello" can say anything from "you're an inconvenience right now" to "yo dude you're the man" to "make it quick or I'm going to get mad for no reason" to "hey baby girl I'm your biggest fan." Know what you're sayin'.
8) Sometimes the phone won't cut it. They can't see you and you can't see them. Humans were meant to relate face to face. You know what conversations just need to be over a meal or on a front porch.