How to ask for a contact number professionally

Jelena Fisic

Last updated on: September 6, 2022

Do you tend to overanalyze and overthink every email you get or write? 

What did your boss actually mean when she wrote “Dear Paul”? 

Does she always start her emails in that fashion? 

Or is she being sarcastic? 

When you write emails, do you contemplate all the ways they could be misinterpreted? 

If your answer is “Yes”, maybe you should consider the good old way of communication — a thingamajig called telephone.

Remember that device? 

According to Workplace communication statistics 2022, although still present as a form of communication in the workplace, phone calls have a share of only 6%

Even though phone calls aren’t a favorite communication method among millennials — the most prevalent generation in the US labor force — maybe we should give them a second chance.

There are some cases in which a good old phone call is better than an email. 

In this blog post, first, we will consider cases in which a phone call is better than an email

We’ll even provide you with a cheat sheet that might help you choose the best mode of communication. 

After that, we’ll give you some tips on how to ask for someone’s contact number.

We’ll finish this little guide with a formula and a sample message for asking for someone’s phone number. 

Let’s dive right in!

How to ask for a contact number professionally

When is a phone call better than an email?

Hands up who amongst you has made a business phone call in the last week. 

I bet I don’t see many hands in the air. (OK, that’s because this is a text — but you get my point.)

Anyway, believe it or not, a phone call is sometimes better than an email.

In the following paragraphs, we’ll present you with some of the cases in which it’s better to opt for a phone call than an email.

Case #1: When emojis aren’t enough to convey tone

Although emojis are widely used in correspondence — to illustrate, 77% of people used emojis at work in 2020 —  sometimes, they just don’t have enough power to convey tone.

Namely, in his book The Universal Sense: How Hearing Shapes the Mind, Seth Horowitz, an auditory neuroscientist, explains that we’re picking and processing heard information in only about 50 milliseconds or less. 

Aside from that, we’re also picking emotional signals from people we listen to. 

So, that’s the nuance that we’re missing when using emails for communication with our colleagues or business associates. 

No matter how careful you are when concocting an email, unfortunately, there’s always room for miscommunication

In contrast, a phone conversation gives you plenty of opportunities to communicate beyond words — using the tone and rhythm of your voice, as well as the pauses. 

💡 Pumble Pro Tip

If you’re curious about the perception of emojis in different cultures, read our blog post on that matter:

Case #2: When you want to get things resolved quickly

You’re surely familiar with that overwhelming feeling of despair when, after a long thread of emails, you still haven’t completed a single conversation.

The correspondence can drag on for hours — or even days — until you finally reach an understanding.

That’s all fine and dandy if you have all the time in the world. 

But, what happens when you need to resolve a problem as soon as possible?

A good old telephone call comes to the rescue — in a matter of minutes, you get your answers, exchange some light banter, and you’re done.  

Not to mention that a phone call is the best way to avoid misunderstandings — since you can nip them in the bud, if they occur at all.

Case #3: When you expect there will be questions

The above-mentioned speed of communication that is inherent to a phone call is maybe the best argument for using phone calls when you expect the other person to have follow-up questions.

So, when deciding on whether to send an email or make a phone call, evaluate the problem you’re dealing with.

Figure out whether the matter is a bit complex or requires further explanation. If so, our advice is to pick up the phone and make your and the other party’s lives easier by avoiding an endless email exchange. 

Case #4: When you want to build camaraderie

If you’re the type of person who likes to chit-chat a bit with colleagues before moving on to more pressing matters, look no further than your phone.

It enables you to build stronger relationships with your teammates or business partners and avoid sterile business exchange. 

In contrast, email is too impersonal — it’s difficult to chat about non-work related stuff in a business email. 

This leads us to our next case when a phone call is a better option than an email. 

Case #5: When the matter is personal or sensitive

Unlike email, a phone call enables you to adjust your message based on the other party’s reaction. 

You may decide to be more direct — or even blunt — if the situation calls for this kind of behavior.

On the other hand, you can also soften your tone of voice and switch to euphemisms if you notice the other person is being too sensitive about what you’re saying. 

Aside from that, email can never offer the other person the comfort of a warm and friendly voice — which is sometimes more than needed. 

In any case, when the information in question is personal or sensitive in any sense, a phone call is certainly a preferable method of business communication.

Should I send an email or make a phone call?

In the paragraphs above, we have given you a few cases when a phone call is better than an email. 

However, sometimes situations you find yourself in are not so clear-cut. 

Don’t worry — we have a cheat sheet for you when you’re in doubt about whether you should send an email or make a phone call.

📧 Send an email when…☎️ Make a phone call when…
You have a quick or simple question.The topic or question at hand is complicated and you expect follow-up questions.
There’s an attachment you need to share.You need to talk about a sensitive topic, especially if it’s something personal or negative.
You don’t need an immediate response to something.Tone of voice is an important part of delivering your message.
You need a written record of the correspondence.You want to build camaraderie with someone.
You need to share complex, detailed information.Two-way communication is essential to solving a problem or making a decision.
You’re sharing something that the recipient will need to refer to later.Back-and-forth emails have made it impossible to get the information you need.

Now that you know in what situations a phone call is more efficient and suitable, let’s cut to the chase and make sure we get that contact number we need. 

8 Tips for asking for a contact number 

Maybe the most practical way of asking for someone’s contact number is via a team chat app:

  • You’ll get the number more quickly,
  • It’s more natural — you just need to suggest the other party to continue the conversation via a phone call. 

In the example below, Doris is asking for Timothy’s phone number. She’s in a rush and it would suit her to have a quick phone call with him and discuss some problems. 

Asking for a phone number via Pumble (a business messaging platform)
Asking for a phone number via Pumble (a business messaging platform)

Business chat apps are useful in this sense since sometimes people put their phone numbers in their profile descriptions, so people can reach them even when they aren’t online.

One such example is the profile of this DEI consultant in Pumble.

Phone number in the description in Pumble
Phone number in the description in Pumble

However, if you opt for a more formal way of asking your business associates for a contact number, an email is another solution for you. 

Additionally, an email is still a legitimate and widely used method of communication, especially with third parties.

So, in the following paragraphs, we bring you a few tips on how to ask for someone’s phone number politely via email.

Tip #1: Use a professional email address

Picture this:

You got an email from someone whose email address is partylover95@email.com

They are asking for your phone number, so they can contact you concerning the new terms of the contract you recently signed. 

Would you give your phone number to someone whose address sounds so untrustworthy? 

Probably not.

So, when asking for someone’s contact number, make sure you use your business email address, to establish trust with the recipient.

Additionally, your professional email address increases the likelihood of you getting that number.

More and more people are checking their emails on their phones — so they are more likely to ignore addresses that don’t sound serious and professional. 

Another extra detail you should consider is using an email signature — since it adds to the professional look of your email.

Tip #2: Focus on making your request short and clear

According to the Litmus’ 2021 State of Email Engagement, the average time spent reading an email in 2021 is 10 seconds. 

Use that time wisely. 

Resist the temptation to over-explain yourself in your email — it will only get confusing and your recipient won’t know what is expected of them. 

Moreover, they might lose interest in your email, so they won’t even get to the part where you ask them for a contact number. 

Ideally, you should state your intentions within the first few sentences of your email. Just, don’t forget to introduce yourself first.

For instance, if you’re writing to the expert you admire to invite her to speak at a conference you’re running, you can write something like this: 

“Dear Ms. Ocasio,

This is Helen Fisher. I run the popular Sticky Marketing Conference, which draws over 5,000 entrepreneurs to the Staples Center in LA each year. 

I’m writing to extend an invitation for you to speak at our event on January 5th, 2023.

I would appreciate it if you could give me your contact number for easier communication.”

Tip #3: Make your email easy to scan

Pay attention to how you format your message — to help the other person grasp the essence of your email as quickly as possible. 

This tip is pretty simple to follow:

  • Just bold some words, or 
  • Use bullet points.

Here’s how that would look in an actual email in which you’re requesting someone’s phone number: 

“Since I like to communicate via phone for urgent matters, would you mind giving me your contact number for easier communication?”

So, help your recipient scan your email — in turn, you might get their number more easily. 

At least, your request won’t be lost in an unread clutter of words.

Tip #4: Go through your email before sending it

Admit it: there’s nothing more embarrassing than realizing that you’ve made a mistake in an email after you sent it!

Luckily, this mistake is easy to avoid.

All you have to do is spend a few seconds reading through your email and double-checking if you missed anything crucial. 

Another step you should take before hitting that “send” button is to preview your email on your phone. 

The argument in favor of this step can be found in the above-mentioned report by Litmus, according to which mobile phones are the preferred way to read emails. 

So, keep it short and sweet — no one wants to see War and Peace when they open their email.

Tip #5: Don’t give the option of communicating via email

Be careful how you phrase your request.

Instead of asking “Do you prefer communicating via email or phone?”, clearly state:

“For sensitive or urgent matters, I prefer communication via phone.” 

The former question gives the recipient a choice and it’s more than likely that they will opt for an email.

In the latter request, you clearly state that you would use their phone number only in certain cases — time- or otherwise sensitive. Thereby, you’re eliminating the possibility of misusing their contact number.

This brings us to our next tip.

Tip #6: Reassure the recipient of your email

Let’s consider for a brief moment why someone would refrain from giving you their phone number, even if they don’t have anything against you per se.

One of the reasons may be their fear that someone else might access their contact information.

Once again, it’s not difficult to avoid this problem and reassure the recipient of your email that you’ll be the only one using their phone number (and only in urgent situations). 

So, if you’re writing in an email thread with other people in it, the best would be to formulate your request something like this:

“You can send me your phone number on a new thread, so that we can discuss the matter in private.”

It wouldn’t hurt to remind them that you will respect their privacy and not share their contact with an unauthorized person. 

Tip #7: Provide your phone number

Another useful tip is to lead by example.

In this case, that means you should end your email by sharing the phone number you’ll use when contacting the recipient of your email.

Simply, write:

“Here’s my phone number, in case you need anything or have any questions or concerns.”

Tip #8: Mind your “tone”

Common wisdom says that you can accomplish anything by being polite. 

So, don’t be too aggressive — be careful how you formulate your request. 

Yes, you do need that person’s phone number, but they shouldn’t feel pressured to provide you with it.

Instead, they need to feel and know they have a choice — to give or not to give their phone number. 

It wouldn’t hurt to read your email out loud or ask your colleagues to proofread it — just to see how it makes them feel.

For instance, you could write:

“I’d like to discuss this matter over the phone. Would you mind sending me your phone number, please?” 

In the end, don’t forget that magical phrase — thank you. 

Sample email for asking for a contact number

After these 8 tips — which we strongly suggest you keep in mind when asking for someone’s phone number — a little more help comes your way. 

Namely, we’ve prepared a formula for asking for a contact number via email:

Dear [Title + Name],

[Brief introduction]

[Stating the reason for contacting a person]

[Explaining why you need their contact number + when you will use it] 

[Reassurance concerning privacy]

[Expressing gratitude]

[Your name]

[Your contact information]

And this is how a sample letter following this formula would look like: 

Dear Ms. Ocasio,

This is Helen Fisher. I run the popular Sticky Marketing Conference, which draws over 5,000 entrepreneurs to the Staples Center in LA each year. 

I’m writing to extend an invitation for you to speak at our event on January 5th, 2023.

Since I prefer to communicate via phone for urgent or sensitive matters, I would like to have your contact number for easier communication. You can send me your contact on a new thread so that no one else can access your personal details.

We will respect privacy and your contact details will not be shared with an unauthorized party.

Here is my phone number for queries and concerns: (555) 555-5555. 

I hope to hear from you soon.

Thank you!

Sincerely,

Helen Fisher

helenfisher@email.com

(555) 555-5555

Conclusion: When asking for someone’s number, be polite and direct

Business phone calls are by no means a thing of the past — they are still extremely useful, especially in urgent situations and for discussing sensitive matters. 

A phone call is a better option in the following situations: 

  • When emojis aren’t enough to convey tone,
  • When you want to get things resolved quickly,
  • When you expect follow-up questions,
  • When you want to build stronger relationships, or
  • When the matter is personal or sensitive. 

In this blog post, we’ve given you 8 tips on how to ask for someone’s phone number in a professional and polite way. 

So, your path to someone’s phone number is now paved by our advice — try them out!

✉️ What about you? How do you ask for someone’s phone number professionally? Do you have any additional tips for us? Share your experience and tips at blogfeedback@pumble.com and we may include your answers in this or future posts. And, if you liked this post and found it useful, share it with someone you think would benefit from it.   

Author: JelenaFisic

Jelena Fisic is a writer and researcher, constantly reading and broadening her knowledge about communication and collaboration. As a long-time remote worker, she is eager to share her experiences and gathered knowledge, and give you some tips for improving team communication and collaboration skills while working from home.

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