We live in a world where we spend vast amounts of time communicating via e-mails, text messages, phones, teleconferencing and social media to our seniors, colleagues, clients and customers. Whilst the digital age may enable us to connect more quickly with each other and make e-commerce and global contact faster, has it cost us the that very important face–to- face communication with another human being?
In a survey by Forbes that spoke to 760 business executives, 84% preferred face-to-face communication. Of those, 85% said their reason was that it builds stronger, more meaningful business relationships. Respondents also said that face-to-face meetings are best for persuasion (91%), leadership (87%), and engagement (86%).
Increasingly, scientists in fields as diverse as neuroscience, evolutionary biology, anthropology, psychology, and network theory are discovering that “human beings are hardwired to sense and respond to the emotions of others.” Businesses have long marketed their products and services with the belief that consumers make logically based decisions. But the reality is as studies shows, people make collaborative and emotionally–driven decisions.
The benefits of speaking with seniors, colleagues or clients face-to-face, is our power to influence and build stronger, more long lasting relationship. If you are able to read a person’s facial expression, body language and decipher meaning through the nuance of their inflection and tone, you are far closer to developing that all important intimacy, trust and rapport necessary for any successful business relationship. As Dr. Kate Roberts, a Boston-based school psychologist puts it, “these are all fundamental to establishing human relationships. And they’re all missing with most forms of modern technology.”
Live meetings deliver the rich and powerful experiences that virtual meetings can’t. They deliver motivation along with messaging, and inspiration with information. So whether you are discussing a work situation, putting yourself across at an interview, pitching a new idea, presenting an update or inspiring your employees to take action, possessing the essential skills on how to communicate with confidence is vital.
So, the next time you think about using a digital device to get your message across, think again. Could you create an opportunity to speak face- to- face with that person or people? What would that added awareness around body language enable you to do? How much more of a lasting impression would you leave when you can adapt your style more affectively? What would it add to your personal or business relationship moving forward?