In a Forbes survey of 760 business executives, 84 percent preferred face-to-face communication over emails, texts, video chats and other non-personable ways of meeting. Why? A whopping 85 percent said you can build stronger, more meaningful relationships by spending time with a person.
Relationships are obviously very important in business. In fact, many would argue, that a business' most important assets are its relationships with its employees, customers and suppliers.
If you want results, respondents said you need to communicate in-person. Face-to-face meetings are best for persuasion (91%), leadership (87%), engagement (86%), accountability (79%), and decision-making (82%).
Need more convincing? Here are a few more reasons.
- Actions speak louder than words. - A person's words, either in text or by phone, may not express what that person is feeling and thinking. In fact, studies show that only 7 percent of communications is based on the written or verbal word. When you can see the way a person reacts, you're able to better understand their true feelings. On the flipside, you're also able to show your true emotions when meeting in person. Example: A manager stands a far better chance of convincing his team that he cares, by meeting with them in person, so they can see his expressions and read his body language.
- Values the other person -Delicate situations should be handled in person. We've all heard the sad stories of a person being fired at work or dumped in a relationship through an email or text message. This shows a total lack of respect for the person on the receiving end. When employees and others hear of something like this happening --- and they will --- they most often immediately think negatively about the person giving the bad news and sympathize with the person receiving it. We're all busy, so when you invest the time and effort in meeting with a person, it shows you value the person.
- Boosts effectiveness - Efficiency is critical on projects with tight deadlines and volumes of requirements. A project manager can waste an enormous amount of time explaining details and responding to questions via email. While email serves a purpose, meeting with your team allows you to give out all the details and answer questions at one time. It also encourages the flow of ideas and helps build momentum on a project.
- Lessens the chances of misinterpretation - A study by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that online messages are misinterpreted 50% of the time. Wow! Is your business or project worth the risk?
- Builds trust - When an employee or customer can see how your words and actions align, they're much more likely to believe you.
- Protects confidentiality - There is some information that people are uncomfortable sharing via text, email, or on a group video conference. Most people are far more comfortable sharing their opinions and personal or sensitive information face-to-face.
Interested in more quick tips for enhancing communications with your team or clients, check out our newsletter. Each month in 2018, Management Solutions' Communications Specialist Bridget Correll Waller will address topics like this one. Next month's topic: The basics of building a communication plan for your project or business.