Within the digital age it is so easy to get caught up in the technology whirlwind and communicate more and more frequently through the computer/smart phone screen and less so through good old-fashioned face to face conversation. At eXPD8, we love all things technology related and know how it can facilitate and accelerate day to day processes however we also see the great benefit of getting in more face to face time, both with clients externally and our colleagues at Central Office. Within our account teams as an example, several of our eXPD8 employees are implanted within our client central offices to help facilitate the day to day running of the account where the Account Manager is involved in the “here and now” rather than having to schedule in a specific time for a phone call each week. Furthermore, within our Central Office we have recently introduced Smart TV technology to benefit web conferences and enhance face to face contact when geographically the distance may be too far to regularly travel. Below are just a few of the reasons that face to face time is so important in the modern age:
Location, Location, Location
Studies have shown that being in a different environment stimulates the brain and opens you up to new ways of thinking. Research has found that people are more likely to retain information and think creatively when you are placed somewhere new. From a practical point of view here at eXPD8 this can be a great benefit of store visits and external meetings where employees can be inspired outside of the office and help see things from a different point of view.
Emotional contagion and Body Language
Emotional contagion essentially means “emotions are contagious” – when you are in an environment and you are face to face with a client or colleague, your emotions have the power to radiate from one person to another and mutually influence each other’s’ feelings and attitudes. Where you are trying to emit feelings of excitement/motivation/persuasiveness this is something that can much more easily come across face to face rather than through a phone call where body language cannot be monitored. Similarly, face to face meetings in this way are much more effective in building long standing relationships and creating empathy/trust towards a person. The ability to read someone’s body language allows you to so much more information than a simple telephone meeting. Professor Mehrabian, established that communication is only 7 percent verbal and 93 percent non-verbal. The non-verbal element consisting of body language (55 percent) and tone of voice (38 percent) – that’s 93% you could be missing out on from a phone call!
Within a face to face meeting, it has been proven that you are much more likely to focus on the topic at hand and there is less chance of distraction. First off, in a face to face environment people don’t feel that they could “get away with” checking emails, checking their phone, staring out the window but secondly the meetings themselves tend to be a) better prepared for and b) more engaging because you have prepared for them and are more aware of your accountability and presence in the meeting – in essence this meaning that everyone takes away far much more from the meeting when they put in face to face time instead of a call.
Above are just some of the ways in which getting together in person can help – face to face meetings can benefit: productivity, effectiveness, focus in addition to help build trust, empathy and long standing relationships with another person. Geography can always be a challenge in getting together however in this instance why not schedule in some time for a web conference or Skype call? There can be so much more to gain from these methods over picking up the phone and making a call!
Client Services Manager