The Value of Face-to-Face Interactions
Before social media, auto responders, and email blasts, before twitter and facebook, people connected either by picking up the phone or in person, face-to-face. Regardless of how tech-savvy our world has become, face-to-face meetings are the most effective way to build connections and ultimately trust, capture attention, and drive collaboration. Let’s face it business success depends on sales. Sales are built on trust, relationship and value. No amount of technology can replace the power of human interaction and face-to-face communication.
If the point of business were simply to accomplish as many tasks as possible, then a quick email blast may work. But business is about connections. Managing a successful team and, a successful business, requires personal connections. It requires as much emotional intelligence as it does working knowledge, discipline and determination. Sales stem from trust, understanding and value, critical elements, which are developed through strong, nurtured connections.
Good old-fashioned, face-to-face interactions offer several benefits:
Face-to-face means greater focus
Technology and multi-tasking seem to be synonymous. How often have you attended a conference call or webinar and continued responding to emails or compiling information? In fact, research out of Stanford shows that the human mind is incapable of multi-tasking, at least effectively. In a study on focus, participants in one group watched a webinar and were encouraged to ask questions during the exchange session. The second group attended a live seminar in which they were also asked to participate during the Q&A portion. Researchers found that the group attending the webinar had a harder time staying focused and remembering the content just delivered, simply because they were easily distracted. The group attending the live seminar scored higher on content retention and asked more pertinent questions. The second group said they couldn’t sneak in things like checking email or writing a to-do list, as they did not want to be disrespectful to the speaker. The fact that they were face-to-face automatically elevated the meeting making it more engaging.
Face-to-face meetings allow speakers to capture and hold attention
A new environment stimulates the brain and opens the mind to the possibility of new ideas. This is the very reason why leadership will take a retreat to brainstorm and set company goals for the coming year rather than simply meet in the conference room. Research has found that people are more likely to remember information and think creatively when they are in a new environment. Those corporate trips and incentive programs are not just frivolous get away, they are strategic in nature because good leadership understands the importance and value of face-to-face interactions whether it be externally with prospects or internally amongst the team.
Emotions are contagious
You’ve heard it said that laughter is contagious likewise emotions are contagious positive or negative. We’ve all felt that lingering grey cloud that seems to permeate a room when the office Debbie downer is near, but just as strong is the lift from the always upbeat, positive Pete! That’s because emotions are energy and energy spreads from person to person, it’s part of the collective consciousness. The process is called ‘emotional contagion’ meaning that people in a group mutually influence each other. So, if a speaker is trying to stir excitement, passion, interest, and enthusiasm in listeners, he/she will be able to do it best in face-to-face meetings.
Face-to-face interactions are the best way to build relationships
Virtual meetings simply do not offer the same networking opportunities or the valuable after-meeting social gatherings that face-to-face meetings do. The business world places a high emphasis on networking and with good reason, if business is about sales and sales is about relationships, then the only way to truly develop a connection, understand and get to know a client or potential client is through face-to-face interaction.
Face-to-face interactions lead to trust and empathy
Face-to-face meetings provide a space for connection and bonding. This experience naturally encourages trust and empathy, two key factors of any successful business relationship. While virtual meetings allow people to share a connection with one another, the lack of face-to-face places limits on the amount of connection that can be shared.
The value of face-to-face interactions for businesses as well as individual sales people is hugely important to overall productivity and success. Prospects are twice as likely to be converted to clients after an in-person meeting rather than those who have simply been communicated with via email or phone. It is much easier to establish trust when people physically meet.
The next time you try to cover all the bases with an email blast or try to address important topics via a webinar consider the company mantra Caesar’s Entertainment Group lives by: “If it’s not that important, send an email. If it’s important but not mission critical, pick up the phone. If it’s critically important to the success of your organization, go see someone.”
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