It isn’t rude to tell someone to email you instead of calling you, but the way you go about it can influence how they feel. You set the tone for the relationship, and you can control how you correspond with someone.
Make sure your request for an email instead of a phone call doesn’t seem insulting and give a brief reason why you prefer email. Your explanation doesn’t have to be very detailed, but the other person shouldn’t feel like you’re blowing them off.
How you share your preference to be emailed instead of the call depends on your relationship with them. Typically, you aren’t going to tell your friends or family to go that route. There are some exceptions though.
For example, if you are out of the country or work nights! There are professional ways to ask acquaintances and business contacts to email you rather than call.
Politely Redirecting a Phone Call to an Email
When you’re busy or don’t want to talk, unexpected phone calls can be frustrating. If you prefer email communication or simply don’t have the time for a phone call, it’s important to know how to politely redirect the conversation to email. Here are some tips for doing so:
- Acknowledge the call: Even if you can’t answer the call, it’s important to acknowledge the other person’s effort to reach out. You can say something like “Thanks for calling. Sorry I missed your call.”
- Express your preference: Politely express your preference for email communication by saying something like “I favor email over phone conversations. Can we discuss this over email?”
- Offer an alternative: If the other person insists on talking on the phone, offer an alternative time or suggest a specific topic to discuss. For example, you can say “I’m not available to talk right now, but we can schedule a call later to discuss this further. Alternatively, if you have a specific question, feel free to email me and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.”
- Be polite: Remember to stay polite and professional throughout the conversation. Thank the other person for their understanding and cooperation, and let them know that you appreciate their interest in your work.
By following these tips, you can redirect phone calls to email in a polite and professional manner that respects both your time and the other person’s preferences. Don’t forget to use follow-up emails, subject lines, and email templates to streamline your communication method and make it more efficient.
Examples of Professional Ways to Redirect Phone Calls to Email
Continuously convey a friendly and personal impression to your professional contacts. It may be difficult to be on the phone throughout the day with one call after another.
It can be hard to keep track of information or remember what you previously talked about. Asking them to email instead of calling can help you all!
What to Say:
“It is hard to get me on my phone due to meetings and being away from my desk. Please email me as that is the best way to connect with me. It also gives me the opportunity to email back at a time that works best for me. Sometimes, that is early in the morning or late at night.”
“Can you email me rather than call me? This gives me a written record of our correspondence. It makes it easier for me to remember our discussion and important dates/information. I can refer back to it as needed to stay on top of everything.”
“With the time difference between us, I feel email is a better method for us to connect. Feel free to email me any time and I will get back to you timely. Likewise, I will email you and hope you can get back to me the following business day. This will keep our flow moving forward smoothly and efficiently.”
“Please email me with that information. I can’t make any decisions until I visually see the materials. This information will help me with the decisions. Once I review it, I can email you back with any questions or concerns I may have.”
“Email is a much better way to work with me. I often need to share the information with others in the office. With an email, I can route it to those that need to see it or print it out for our meetings. It will help us all stay in the loop for the project.”
Examples of How to Redirect Casual Contacts from Phone Calls to Emails
Some fall between being a business contact and your friends or family. They are casual contacts.
Perhaps you want to find out about the upcoming schedule for the sessions at the gym that got your attention. You may need to talk with the parents of other students regarding projects your children are part of.
What to Say:
“I will be happy to work on that for the kids. Can you email me with the things that need to be done? I can go through the list and let you know which items I can help with or provide.”
“Please email me the dates for the soccer schedule and practices. I will do my best to work out getting my son there. It is difficult with my work schedule but hoping to work out something with other parents on the team to make it work out.”
“I think that is a wonderful idea, can you email me the details of what you work on? I can’t wait to see how it all comes together for the festival!”
“I can’t commit right now, but may be able to donate to the cause if I can’t be there in person. Here is my email, I will watch for the details and get back to you about what I can be involved with.”
“I am not sure if I want to be part of that. Is there more information you can email to me? Then I can review it when I have time.”
Examples of Redirecting Friends and Family to Email You Instead of Calling
The only times your friends or family should be asked to email rather than to call is if there are unusual circumstances. Share that with them so they know you aren’t being rude and you do want to correspond with them.
What to Say:
“Can you please email me rather than call me? It is hard for me to hear on the phone during the day because of the kids with me. I can go through emails at night when they sleep or during the day when they nap. This will work better for me until they are older, and I appreciate your understanding.”
“My work schedule is all over the place! I often sleep during the day or try to catch a nap. The phone wakes me up, so if you can email I would love that! I can get back to you as soon as I am able.”
“Until I am back in the country, please email me. The time differences and cost of the calls are hard keeping an overview. I find email to be a better way for me to stay in contact with those I care about. Send my pictures and updates, I miss you all!”
“I hate talking on the phone, it is a distraction, and hard for me to manage everything I try to organize. When you email me, I can get it on my calendar right away and make sure there aren’t any conflicts. I don’t want to spread myself too thin!”
“I don’t want to be rude and be on my phone when I am with others. I also don’t talk while driving as it is a distraction. Can you email me? I go through my emails several times a day and can often get back to everyone easier that way.”
Creating Clear Boundaries Around Phone Calls and Emails
It is essential to be polite when directing a phone call to an email. However, it is also crucial to set specific boundaries to manage communication preferences effectively. Doing so can help you prioritize work and manage timely responses without feeling overwhelmed or stressed.
One approach to setting boundaries around phone calls and emails is to establish specific times when you are available for either communication method.
For instance, blocking specific times on your calendar for a phone call or allocating designated hours of the day for email can help you focus on work and minimize interruptions.
Another way to set expectations and boundaries is by managing response times. Letting others know when they can expect to hear back from you and requesting their understanding if you take longer than usual to respond can alleviate the pressure to respond immediately and provide you more time to work on important tasks.
Using email templates or pre-written responses can also streamline your email communication and save time, allowing you to respond more efficiently without worrying about crafting each email from scratch.
Overall, clear communication expectations can create a healthy balance between work and personal life, reduce stress and burnout, and improve productivity. Emphasizing the importance of being on the “same page” with colleagues and clients can help facilitate successful communication and avoid misunderstandings. Incorporating video calls or adding a “personal touch” to phone conversations can help establish a more personal connection with clients or colleagues. Balancing “own time” and “free time” for both work and personal life is critical to achieving this balance.
Setting communication preferences and boundaries can be a simple but effective way to manage workloads, reduce stress, and avoid miscommunication.
Katie Holmes is a senior author at everyday-courtesy.com with over 15 years of experience in marketing and psychology. As a freelance consultant, she also supports companies and executives in overcoming communication challenges. Katie is a passionate digital nomad working on her first book on the art of communication.