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5 Benefits of Face-to-Face Communication

communication culture leadership negotiation Jun 25, 2021

Every day we find ourselves bogged down by social media posts, email updates, long text chains. In an increasingly digital world, where communication is as easy as pressing a button, it’s easy to forget why it’s important to talk to people in person (this is even more important during trying times like the pandemic, than ever before).  

But wait - I haven't seen most people in person in... many months!  

Now, I’m not one of those anti-technology people. I don’t like to gripe about millennials and their phones; the way we interact with other people is changing, and that’s okay. There are benefits – business and personal – to texting, email, and even Facebook. After all, I’m communicating with you over the internet right now.

And it is easier to do this now than ever before. Now, I don't mean that Zoom fully takes the place of physical, in-person meetings. Rather, I mean that Zoom, Teams, etc. make human connection easier than ever before - and supplements - rather than replaces - that face-to-face meeting (BTW: here are some best practices for successful Zoom calls.)

The trend may be that some folks will find ever-improving video conferencing sufficient. Either way, these are the 5 benefits of connecting in an "as personal as possible" way with people you deal with - when talking to people face-to-face (even if via a screen) is the best way to get something accomplished. 

1. Easier to convince people.

When you’re conversing with someone who disagrees with you, communication over text or email can be cumbersome and ineffective. You may not have their full attention, or they may just be skimming over the words you’ve written.

Swaying people to our point of view is an essential skill for business owners and leaders. And the vast majority of the time, it’s much easier to get people to see your perspective when they’re in the room with you - even if it's a virtual room!

You aren’t an email window that can just be closed and forgotten about. You can engage them, change tactics, and make your case – persuasively!

It’s a lot harder to say “no” to someone in person than over the phone.

2. Stronger Connections.

Trust isn’t built over a text message. A colleague or client who never sees your face is not likely to feel the same connection to you as someone whose hand you shake on a regular basis. They hear you. They read your words. But seeing you makes a connection that can't be substituted by any other method.  Physical meetings can be the next step - but I have found that even the dynamic interaction of a Zoom call (with working mics and cameras!) can establish real relational foundations.

Getting to know someone, even if it’s just what kind of dog they have or where they like to go on vacation, can go a long way. It’s the personal touch. Face-to-face interaction and socialization lead to a sense of community and camaraderie, which leads to a stronger working relationship in the long term.

3. Better non-verbal understanding.

It’s not just about talking. There’s another important dimension of communication: body language. Non-verbal cues can tell you a lot about a person, and that’s information that you can’t get over email, over the phone, or even over video chat.  So, don't be full facial on your next Zoom call - let people see your arms and hands - you know, let them feel they're having a meeting not just a phone call with video.

Body language can tell you how a person is feeling – and how they’re feeling about what you’re talking about. It can tell you if they’re not confident about a sale or a deal. If they’re inattentive to your pitch. If their friendliness is sincere or just an act.

Based on non-verbal cues, you can change tactics in a pitch, adjust what tone of voice or what language you’re using, and tell for sure when you have someone’s attention back.

4. Quicker and more effective.

Whether we’re talking with our own team or communicating with a client or investor, email can cause more problems than it solves. Problem-solving is done better face-to-face.

It might take ten emails to hash out a minor detail that could be handled in two minutes in person. You might go back and forth all day trying to find a solution to a problem that you could solve in a half-hour meeting. Instantaneous replies can build off each other. A question won’t sit in an inbox for three hours.

If you couple your Zoom presence with easy scheduling (something like https://acuityscheduling.com/), then you can easily connect and resolve more issues, more quickly than ever before.

5. More team participation.

Getting your team all in one room can be a hassle, but it’s worth it. People are more engaged and more collaborative in face-to-face settings. This seems especially true for millennials, the generation most known for being tech-reliant.

Though some members of your team might go out on a limb to send you an idea or a quick thought over email, others might only do so if prompted. A community setting like a meeting is a great space to invite participation from every member of your team.

Over the last year and a half, organizations of all sizes have found that the new conferencing technologies were the glue that held their teams together.  Lean into it - use it more. And when you think it's safe to get into a (real) room again - do that.  But don't wait for that perfect moment to connect your people.

Questions to consider:

  • How often do you hold team meetings? How engaged are people in these meetings?
  • Do you close more sales over the phone or in person?
  • How has Zoom/Teams,etc benefited your business building?
  • Do you have more team meetings now that you can schedule them in 30-minute segments?
  • How often do you just close out of emails that don’t interest you? How often do you just walk away from a conversation?

[NOTE This post is an update to our original post]