Defending The Landline

To say almighty landline may be an exaggeration. But a phone that’s physically plugged into a wall outlet is not a twee relic, either. Its position as the most trustworthy device for communicating in a “one-shot-at-it” professional situation goes unchallenged.

Yes, you read that right.

A clear, crisp dialogue unwarped by a lousy connection is essential for a phone screen, a return call to a prospect, and even an unknown inquirer.

landline phones offer greater clarity so your voice wont sound warped as it may when using a cell phone

Look! Do not blame the landline!

Even if it means waiting a few hours to reach a landline, do it.

The landline is an appliance (let’s call it what it really is) that’s the best channel for reproducing your clear, crisp voice laden with excitement.

I acknowledge that you will not see the words disrupt and landline used in the same sentence elsewhere on the web, except right here. I raise my hand for being guilty, or even nostalgic, for the days when one’s focus could be uninterrupted by the ring of a cell phone. But this is not coloring my advice.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that there is a correct (and well-justified) use for a landline.

Some think that immediate response is most important. No, clarity is!

Can you hear me?” in all its garbled ways

Last week I was in Las Vegas to give a presentation to women in the electronic payments industry. As I was preparing my thoughts in the privacy of my suite, I received a call (on my cell) from a recruiter. I heard the words “I can’t hear you” three times before one of us decided to call the other back. The cell connection was awful. Moving to another part of the room only exacerbated the tension.

If, in light of this warning, you’re hesitant to do the Wait ‘Till You Get To A Landline step, I’ll assume it’s because you’re either a Superhero (with unlimited powers) or a fan of self-deprivation. Everyone else, please meet me at the next paragraph.

The danger of using a cell phone (rather than a landline) for business talk

There is an amazing onslaught of cool new ways to use your cell phone. For example, this afternoon I came across an exciting software platform that facilitates mobile commerce with loyalty programs, gift and comp cards, and more. I wish my neighborhood joints offered such services!

Yet, while you may be getting ever more habituated to using your mobile phone for payment, what you shouldn’t be doing is using it exclusively for phone talk. It may be quaint to hold a landline receiver with the dimensions of a young teen’s shoe, but you do need to recognize how to communicate effectively.

Renee Marks Cohen illustrates this maxim. “I recommended a consultant to someone, by calling the consultant on his cell phone and speaking to him. But, he used his cell soon after in transit to call the person who would have hired him, and the call broke up. The possible client told me afterward it was a bad experience. She intentionally didn’t pursue more information from the consultant.”

Select any of your business phone conversations, and ask yourself if the quality of the interaction is crucial. Wouldn’t it be better to wait to get to a landline?

Mojo Moves

  • Use your landline to communicate with relatively unknown persons
  • Use the power of positive impressions the first time around, and wait to get to a landline to return an incoming call that catches you at an inopportune moment
  • Do not schedule any presentation, negotiation, or something similarly significant on a cell phone. Ever.

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons 2.0, drewleavy.

Want to share your own phone call saga? Let’s “hear” from ya below!

MuCash lets you make donations quicky in increments as small as a single penny. By leaving a small donation every time you find something of value on Mojo40, you can help me (Diane) keep creating content like this for you to enjoy.
Did you enjoy this post?
  • Michele M Tremblay

    THANK YOU!!!! I hate cell phones. I recently got an i-phone and it is definitely an amazing device, but the sound quality …terrible. I thought I was the only one who noticed the bad sound. I guess it would be fine if I had never used a land line, but for me there is no comparison. And then there is that sticky problem of holding a mini microwave oven to the side of your head. 
    I love this post!

    • Diane Dolinsky-Pickar

      I know the feeling, Michele…. agreed!

  • SharonODay

    Here, Diane, let me take the arrows out of your back for being brave enough to be the first one to say this!  I find cell phone quality so bad it actually affects my friendships with some people … it’s just too much effort to strain to understand them for more than a few minutes.  What fun is that?  And as for business, I work in four languages in 10 countries … and cell quality just doesn’t cut it.  However, for me, what does eclipse the landline is Skype … I feel I can hear much more intonation in my clients’ and prospects’ voices, which is critical in closing some gigs.

    • Diane Dolinsky-Pickar

      Agreed, Sharon, Skype is uber-useful in many situations, since it puts a face with a voice, and indeed, sometimes 90% of communication is conveyed in gestures and body movements. The downside: you need your hair and makeup fixed to be in the driver’s seat there!

      • SharonODay

        I disconnected my webcam years ago, since I do most of my business in boxer shorts.  But, with decent microphones, just the sound quality itself is infinitely more precise …

        • Diane Dolinsky-Pickar

          Sharon, you are such a fountain of ideas! If that is the case, I can toss my web-ready microphone from Logitech, too, though I won’t report that to Jeremiah Andrick, the search marketing/social media guru there!

  • Susan McKenzie

    So many families have opted out of the landline entirely, in favor of mobile phones. I can certainly agree with you about sound quality, however… and I love Sharon’s comment about Skype… a video conversation is so much fun!

  • Ira Berkowitz

    Remove the technical obstacles to humanly connect with people; the essence of networking. Great post!

  • Janet Wilkins

    Sometimes I’ve thought about disconnecting my landline but then I think about the sound quality of the cell phones I’ve owned versus the sound quality of my landline, especially since my landline is digital (vs analog) which has also improved the sound quality. I’m so glad I’ve never followed through with my plan to disconnect my landline!

    • Diane Dolinsky-Pickar

      Hey, I do that with papers I throw out… and two weeks later, start digging for!

  • Hughie Bagnell

    Excellent Diane! Agree 200%…it is amazing how ‘instant gratification’ is dominating communication…as you say: clear, concise communication is still necessary to do business and listening is the key component. To listen we have to hear…beautiful article…Hughie :)

    • Diane Dolinsky-Pickar

      Thanks, Hughie!

  • Catherine Morgan

    I haven’t had a land line since 2006. Even my parents gave theirs up a few years ago. I do all business on my cell phone and rarely have a problem. People understand if you are in a bad zone or I just let it go to voice mail and call them back when I am in a better place.

    • Diane Dolinsky-Pickar

      Ah, we can agree to disagree (and still smile at each other)! Let’s take it to The View, shall we?

  • D. Scot Kerr

    Sadly, even what most of us refer to as “landlines” today are not the high quality never fail copper connections of the original Ma Bell.  We’re on phone services from the cable company and using cordless phones that don’t sound as good. Given that, I’ve adjusted to cell phone work life and Skype when I can.  (Tried GoogleVoice through the computer with a headset, but was too clunky and distracting.)  So, I get your point but can’t fully subscribe to it.

    • Diane Dolinsky-Pickar

      Your comment makes me think of a picture that I came across, while looking for the visual of this post. Indeed the word ‘landline’ is subject to interpretation, as is the idea of it having a copper wire. Take a look at this

      Apparently the poster thought this signal station from WWI qualifies as an original landline communications system…

  • Anastasiya Day

     I agree with Sharon, Skype works for me too  as I can connect with my clients better via Skype. Great post and tips Diane, thank you!

    • Diane Dolinsky-Pickar

      Anastasiya, do you use the Skype app on your cellphone also? If so, how is the quality of that?

  • Marylfloyd

    I’m so happy to get in on this discussion.  I thought it might be just me but I can’t count how many times I say to a caller to my home, “let me call you back on my land line.”  They put an AT&T antenna atop my coop building and the reception got worse.  I spent 20 years working for that company and was there when they sold their first mobile company in the early ’80’s because the industry seemed iffy!!  I feel like we’re back in the early days…..”Can you hear me now?”  In the end I think reception depends on what part of the country, state, town, living room you’re in….but it shouldn’t.   

  • Dr Eno

    This gave me a new way of thinking about response times. Our society has become so instant oriented that our personal boundaries become muddied. On the issue of a landline though I replaced that with VoIP several years ago and have had no problem with that. Any thoughts on that?

    • Diane Dolinsky-Pickar

      I haven’t tried VoIP, but in fact, there are many ways to skin a cat, so while it works for you, don’t fix it. And thanks for taking the time to add your ideas to the forum.

What is this site about?

It’s about getting you up to speed with today’s digital networking tools, and sharing a roadmap to elevate your career that doesn’t assume you grew up with wi-fi in your bassinet. Ready to get your career mojo back?

Featured in Alltop


  • Age Concerns (10)
  • Attitude Adjustment (32)
  • Balancing Work and Life (10)
  • Best Videos (8)
  • Blogging Tips (8)
  • Creative Engine (10)
  • Facebook FAQ (3)
  • Funding (1)
  • Gigging (7)
  • How to Become an Entrepreneur (26)
  • How to Increase Sales (13)
  • How to Interview Well (13)
  • How to Network (22)
  • Job Search Strategies (13)
  • Learn Something New (33)
  • LinkedIn Tips (14)
  • Small Business Web Marketing (14)
  • Social Media Tips (13)
  • Tech Tips (21)
  • Time Management Strategies (17)
  • Twitter Tips (7)

Socialize with us at

  • Find us on LinkedIn
  • Find us on Twitter

Find Us On Facebook


Mojo40 Twitter Updates