It is very easy to fall into the trap of relying on technology to provide all of our interactions with others. After all, it is much easier to sit at your desk and send an email, make a phone call, or send a text than to get into a vehicle and drive across town to see a customer or a client.
These types of digital interactions occur hundreds of times a day, and for some basic communications, this is all that is needed. However, to develop a relationship and to provide the human connection with customers, clients, vendors, and even with employees, face-to-face and in-person communication is still the most effective option.
There are several reasons why in-person communication is the most beneficial option for maintaining and building relationships. Understanding how to maximize these meaningful meetings and when and how to use digital technology for communications is essential for everyone in a company from the newest employee to the CEO.
Seeing and interacting with a person in a face-to-face meeting is a very different experience than talking on the phone, texting back and forth, or sending an email. It is also different from a virtual meeting where everyone is online and interacting through video, audio, or a combination of the two on various platforms.
Physical presence is the best way to be able to see reactions, read body language, and to create that sense of teamwork within the group. When the team sees the leader making an effort, or when the customer sees the sales rep traveling to see them, it adds a sense of value and importance to the time and effort made to attend.
Build the Relationship
Meeting with a person face-to-face is also a trust building exercise. Being at a meeting in-person allows for the clear exchange of information and the natural ability to ask questions and to discuss options.
It is also a time when people can share their personal side. Perhaps they have a story or a life experience that ties into the discussion, and this sharing provides a better sense of trust and credibility with all group members or with anyone sitting in on the meeting.
Meeting one-on-one allows for the person to use active listening techniques that are not possible through email, phone, or text types of communication, and only available in limited ways through virtual meetings.
Picking up on the speaker’s sense of enthusiasm, passion, concern, or resistance allows for immediate exploration of the issue, helping to get clarity and to encourage feedback and new and creative ideas and options.
Face-to-face meetings can often distill the problem or the issue more effectively and much faster than endless digital communication. At the same time, all involved can feel valued, respected, and heard in a way that is not possible through other business communication platforms.