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The Importance of Face to Face Communication

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By Barbara Beauregard   |    June 10, 2015   |    10:03 AM

Why Face to Face Communication is Vital in Business

In our increasingly digital world it’s become so easy to conduct meetings and discussions online and over the phone. We can stay connected with friends and colleagues around the country and throughout the world, and technology certainly helps us keep our business lives on track and moving forward.

But, it might be time to step away from the screen and have that next big meeting in person. Face to face communication is still the best way to get things done, after all. Keep reading to find out why, and to learn more about how communicating in person can help your business.

Detect nuances in tone, body language, and more

Have you ever written an email, intending to be sarcastic and funny, only to find out that your message was ill-received? It happens all the time, because subtle differences in tone and body language are so hard to convey in writing or over the phone.

Science backs this claim up, too. 93% of our communication effectiveness is determined by nonverbal cues. We simply can’t communicate effectively without those cues to help us out, which is what helps make in person communication so vital. The next time you need to send an email to a colleague, try walking over and talking to them instead (if you’re working from the same office, that is.)

Save time with face to face communication

All of that emailing back and forth can eat up quite a bit of time, and it can even delay important decision making. A global survey of senior executives and managers showed that 67% of these decision makers felt that their organization could be far more productive if “superiors communicated more often by personal discussion.”

One respondent even said, “I often find that when I look the other person in the eyes and ask them something I get far more than I ever would over email.” With email, it’s easy to pass responsibility along and delay giving an opinion or making a decision. Avoidance becomes much more difficult when you’re able to look someone in the eyes.

Build trust with potential partners

If your company is about to make a big decision regarding partnering with another group, or if you’re trying to make a good impression on a potential partner or client, consider meeting in person. Here’s an example that should have you clamoring for more in person meetings: An organization called PR 20/20 became HubSpot’s first agency partner after meeting with the founders at a conference in 2008. Paul Roetzer, PR 20/20’s founder, says that this long-term partnership would never have happened without that personal connection.

Why are these relationships cultivated via face to face meetings? Well, it’s difficult to determine whether two teams will work together when you’re only interacting through a computer screen or a phone. Remember all of those subtle, nonverbal cues we just mentioned? They help you build trust and camaraderie, too.

What if I can’t meet in person?

Sometimes, meeting in person for some face-time is all but impossible. While the situation isn’t ideal, all hope isn’t lost. Video conferencing is a helpful tool for conducting meetings, for example. You won’t get all of the benefits of face to face communication, but it might suit your needs better than email, phone calls, or instant messages. And, you don’t need any special equipment for video conferencing (though it does exist.) Skype, Google Hangouts, and GoToMeeting are three excellent and widely used options that allow you to get many of the benefits of face to face communication, without being in the same room.
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