In an online world where with the click of mouse you can gain a friend, acquire a fan, or even get people to “like” you, it’s easy to forget the value of meeting in-person, face-to-face.
When staffing is tight—and often budgets and time as well—the convenience of sending a message through social media or by email (which is as easy as pushing “send”) might seem the sensible way to manage your schedule and resources.
No doubt the online business world has an important place in our business environments. It’s obvious we at nine10 are great supporters of online marketing and communications, and we communicate a great deal through email. The online world has connected us to customers around the globe that would have been out of reach to our design agency previously. Technology also gives us the ability to communicate with our customers around the clock.
But while the buzz today seems to push the latest social media trends and web applications of the wired world, the value of person-to-person business contact can’t be underestimated. And in those situations when you can’t meet face-to-face, talking on the phone—where you can hear the other person’s tone of voice—can be a better alternative to sending an email or posting a comment.
Truth is, there’s nothing quite like real people. Communication is more than just the words or phrases. It’s the gestures of the body, expressions in the face or the pitch in the voice that will really get you to the “heart” of the matter.
Body language can tell you a whole lot about what is going on in people’s minds and it often speaks louder than words.
You see, some things might just be better in person. You gain greater insight into people’s personalities and you have a deeper sense of who they are. Any smart business person knows that the more you know about a customer, a potential client, or even a fellow business colleague the greater chance your business has for succeeding. Those same business people know that when others get better acquainted with you, they’re more likely to trust you and your business. And that loyalty translates into revenue.
Next time you are about to send someone an email STOP. Ask yourself two questions:
- When was the last time I talked to this person “in person,” or at the very least, chatted with them on the phone?
- Would the email I am sending be better served through a simple conversation, or will it require a number of emails being sent back and forth? (Is your intent to be more efficient really going to be efficient?)
The online and offline business worlds must be a partnership. Like everything there needs to be a balance. While technology can certainly make communication more convenient, make an effort every day to look for those opportunities for a good old fashioned hand shake and a cup of coffee.
What are your experiences with online vs. face-to-face communication and networking?