By Jared James
I was thinking about our culture recently in this time of voicemails, emails, and social media, and it appears that everyone has a greater desire to communicate, but a lesser desire to actually have conversation.Believe it or not, communication and conversation are two completely different things. The actual definition of the word “communicate” is the activity of conveying information, while the definition of the word “conversation” is the spoken exchange of thoughts, opinions, and feelings; talk. The key difference between the two is the word “exchange,” which occurs during communication. Communication is a one way street, while conversation runs both ways.
We have gotten to a point where we love to communicate through emails, text messages, and social media, as long as we don’t have to actually hold a conversation with someone because that may actually require us to invest a little bit of our time in the present and not in the future at a time when we deem possible to respond. This infatuation with communication over conversation has reached such levels even on our cell phones — a device which was solely created with mobile conversation in mind— that we actually have an app called slydial that allows us to go straight to people’s voicemails…because God forbid they pick up the phone and respond to what we have to say. That would be way too inconvenient.
Now let me say that if there were a line for the guilty in this battle of communication vs. conversation, I would be at the front of the line. Shoot. I would be the spokesperson. But I also understand that almost every good thing can be a double-edged sword. Continue reading »
By Jonathan Osman
Eight months ago, I started investigating the idea of buying my own telephone system. With my mobile number on every sign that I owned and in every ad, I received calls at all hours of the day and night, which got old fast. The idea of simply turning off my ringer at night was not an option either since I no longer have a land-line at home.
After discovering how expensive it would be to purchase, install, and operate my own phone system, I discovered a number of virtual phone systems that are currently available; the most popular being Google Voice.
For the solo agent or for personal use, Google Voice is a must-have. Google Voice is free to register (although you must be invited) and you can order a “local” number to receive voicemail and text messages. You can even dial out using either the Google Voice website or the free mobile app. Both the app and the website will mask your real phone number with your Google Voice number. I love using voicemail through Google Voice because the voice-to-text transcription allows me to read an e-mail of a voicemail even though the translations are hit or miss.
For groups or agents demanding more robust features, I would highly recommend a paid virtual phone system through a service like RingCentral, Grasshopper (formerly Got Vmail), or Phonebooth. All have the capabilities to provide you with a local number, a toll free number, e-fax, company directory, VoIP, and more. When a client dials in, a recording directs them to the department or extensions which are available. Continue reading »