The internet is convenient, isn’t it?
You can sit in your pyjamas on a Sunday afternoon with a glass of wine, and carry out the majority of your business tasks without ever having to step out of the front door. It lets us conduct business with people all over the world with just a few clicks of a mouse, and communicate with everyone we need to speak to without ever losing the comfort of our front room, television, dog and casual clothing.
There are a few issues with this high level of convenience.
Sometimes, we can forget the need to actually get up and leave our home office in favour of a burst of fresh air instead of conducting our business and life ‘virtually’.
No matter how many great ways to communicate there are through the web, nothing has ever yet managed to match the importance and effectiveness of face to face communication.
This morning I attended my first ever breakfast network meeting for local businesses.
Yes…first ever. We drank coffee, ate breakfast and discussed how we can support each other. I came away knowing I had made more contacts and if any of them needed any website help, they would contact me.
When most people are asked about how they like to communicate, unless they are very shy they will probably admit that they still believe face to face communication is the best way of sharing ideas and holding a conversation.
There are a number of reasons for this.
When we speak to someone who is standing before us, around seventy percent of what we communicate is non verbal. This means that we express ourselves through our facial expressions, body language and intonation more than through the actual words we choose to share with the person we are communicating to.
The minute you move communication from face to face to another medium, much of what we say is lost. Although sales experts remind people who do cold calling to smile when they speak over the telephone, many of us can’t pick up on emotions and feelings through a phone conversation.
Move in to online communication and things get even tougher. When we send an e-mail or an instant message online, we have emoticons at our disposal – but this is a handful of icons which will never be able to replace the fluency and expressiveness of face to face communication. Text messages, similarly, are a very limiting way of sharing information, and many a conversation has gone awry through texting, as there is simply not enough detail allowed through the format to make communication effective.
Although videoconferencing does much to mimic face to face communication, it still cannot replace the power of talking to someone who is standing in front of you. Video often has delays which make conversation stilted, and there is nothing so bonding between two people as the opportunity to put a hand on a shoulder, or mirror body language when they are sitting in front of you.
So, the next time you get the chance to meet someone or a client schedules a meeting with you, and you are tempted to ask them to hold it online, in a ‘virtual’ environment, why not consider going traditional on them and actually meeting them face to face?
You’ll get more done, achieve a much stronger bond, and be much more likely to retain them as an ongoing customer if they have the chance to meet you in the flesh.
What’s your thoughts on communication and the best way?
Please share your views in the comments below.