Thanks to technology, it is easier than ever to stay in near constant contact with our colleagues, clients, and customers. Between Blackberries, iPhones, laptops and voicemail, business communication is typically only the touch of a button away. While this can be convenient, it has lead to a sharp decrease in the amount of time we spend in face-to-face contact. While some consider this a timesaver, there are drawbacks to this lack of in-person communication. Why is face-to-face communication so important?
- Talking with someone in person helps you to establish a personal connection. Establishing a relationship in this way can lead to more positive results, not only in the short term, but can influence future interactions as well.
- Even though technology seems to be more efficient, face-to-face communication can actually save you time. All too often we end up playing phone tag or participating in never-ending e-mail discussions attempting to settle a point or answer a question. In face-to-face discussions, you can ask questions on the spot and avoid the days-long volleying that often accompanies other types of communication.
- Non-verbal cues can make communication richer and more effective. You can often learn more about your conversation partner via facial expression, tone, and body posture than his words alone. Without these non-verbal cues, it’s very easy to misunderstand or misinterpret the intention of written communication. This makes face-to-face communication especially important when dealing with delicate matters or important professional interactions.
Although an in-person visit isn’t always feasible, in general the more personal the contact the better. This means, that typically an e-mail is better than a text, a phone call is better than e-mail, and an in-person visit is better than a phone call. Of course, the time restraints of your recipient and the content of the message can play a part, so use your judgment and use the appropriate method for the situation. If the discussion would benefit from give and take, than face-to-face communication is definitely your best course of action. However, for a brief, concrete matter, like confirming a meeting time, e-mail is usually preferable.
Even though the chaos of our professional lives may make texting or e-mail seem like the best option, it is worth taking the time to communicate on a more personal level to help ensure clearer, more effective communication.
Let us know what you think! Do you think business communication has lost its personal touch? Join the conversation in our comments section!