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Despite the increase in digital technology, the power of face-to-face interaction is more valuable than ever. Of course, social media, email, video calls and other forms of electronic communications are great for maintaining relationships across distances and meeting new people. But it’s those face-to-face meetings that build trust and lead to a solid, long-term relationship.
While it’s impossible to deny the importance of digital platforms and the way they’ve revolutionised our everyday lives, we need to understand the balance of these online interactions with face-to-face communication.
Our digital dilemma
One of the issues we face with digital forms of communication is that they’re impersonal. When it comes to trying to make your digital communications seem more friendly and personal you run the risk of being misinterpreted and viewed as unprofessional. Miscommunication is one of the common causes of inefficiency and workplace conflicts, both of which can be attributed to unclear digital communication. We are too quick to assume that others know what we’re thinking and that we have been clear about what we want.
If you’re not physically in the workplace or you choose emails and phone calls over personal interactions, you’re never going to be as connected with your colleagues or clients as those who understand the real importance of face-to-face time. There is a sense of community that comes with the ability to interact and socialise which sets foundations for much better relationships.
When you are face-to-face with someone you can see how interested in a conversation they really are by assessing their body language. If you’re sat in a meeting with colleagues or clients who are fiddling with their pens, checking watches or daydreaming, you know you need to do more to capture their attention and keep them engaged.
Meetings that take place in peron can boost efficiency too. Instead of spending an entire day emailing back and forth, you can get all the details of a project in one go. These meetings can also boost productivity as you can brainstorm together and solve problems at the same time. Regardless of where your clients, customers or colleagues are in the world, it’s so simple these days to buy cheap flights, meet face-to-face and head home – sometimes all in the same day. This can be much more effective for those who struggle with written communication. Everyone has their own unique set of skill, and some people are a lot clearer using verbal communication.
Being in a different atmosphere, such as a conference or meeting room will stimulate the brain, opening everyone up to new ideas. Research has found that people are a lot likely to remember information and think creatively when they’ve been put into a new environment.
When you make the effort to actually see someone in person, it adds a personal touch to those important meeting and proves you are serious about your business and building relationships.
Likewise, there is some information that should only be communicated in person. During face-to-face communication you know that any sensitive information is only revealed to the person in front of you in a private setting. Delicate matters are also easier to handle and at the same time, show respect to those parties involves.
While face-to-face communication is not always an option, it’s important that you don’t completely forget about it. Whenever possible you should take the time to interact with colleagues and clients in person and enjoy the benefits that come with it.
Face-to-face meetings are a bonding experience that all successful business require. Lack of it will limit connections and potentially put businesses at breaking point. At the beginning of any new business relationship, it’s so beneficial to meet in person in order to create a strong basis for an ongoing relationship. Communication that primarily takes place through a screen will lose connections between people.