You know how important speaking is to me. I do it, I teach it, I promote it.

And. I was surprised to come across support for my Stand-Up-and-Speak-Out point of view from a writer, and a good one at that.

Ash Ambirge does writing, teaches it and promotes it. And she wrote the other day that all this chatting, texting, emailing we do means we’re forgetting how to talk to each other. With our actual mouths.

Which can be a big problem when it comes to your business.

Because sooner or later, in a business relationship, we usually have to ask for money. And we don’t typically do it in an instant message or a Tweet or a text. We ask for money in a real, live conversation.

And many of us are woefully out of practice. Which makes those real, live conversations much more difficult than they have to be. As Ash put it in her blog post, “The majority of our most important business conversations happen orally while the majority of our everyday conversations happen in writing.”

In a way, that could turn out to be good news for you. Because whether you’re talking to one person, a small group, or a big audience … if you’re even a little bit more compelling and charismatic than everyone else, you can make a powerful impression.

And truthfully, the competition’s not that great. Just listen around you and you’ll see.

So my suggestion is this. Start paying attention to how much of your daily business communication happens through your fingertips instead of your lips.

Ask yourself, when you hear the word “chat” do you think of a casual conversation … or a feature on Facebook?

You might notice that you default to text or email or even a LinkedIn message rather than picking up the phone or (GASP!) going so far as to meet someone in person to sit down and talk face-to-face.

If you see that your interactions are weighted toward the written side, consider intentionally talking to somebody today. IRL. (In Real Life)

What if you just picked up the phone rather than clicking on “send?” You might be surprised at the reaction. The magic happens in that real-time face-to-face, or at least ear-to-ear, exchange.

Practice on low-risk conversations. When you’re making an appointment, asking a question, relaying information. It’s no big deal – and sometimes it does seem easier and faster to just shoot off an email. But those no-big-deal talks become the fabric of a relationship over time. And those relationships are crucial when it comes to your business.

When the everyday, ordinary conversations feel more natural and comfortable, the high-stakes conversations will get easier too. You know, the ones that are about asking for money. Offering your solution or closing a deal. Resolving a client’s complaint. Or making one of your own. Raising your rates.

Stop hiding behind your keyboard. Make magic by moving your mouth. And exercising those ears as well – listening well makes all the difference in your conversations. But that’s a subject for another article.

Meantime, make your commitment in the comments below. Tell me about one person you would have emailed this week that you’re going to talk to instead.