When In-Person Communication Matters
The last two years have seen a huge acceleration in the variety of methods we use to communicate, both personally and professionally. Of course, the pandemic meant that much of this was driven by necessity, as businesses were ordered to adopt working from home policies overnight.
Now that the restrictions have been lifted, there is much debate about the future of the workplace, and what the right balance of in-person and remote communications might be. While it is undoubtedly useful to connect with colleagues from wherever you are, there are some important advantages of in-person communication that shouldn’t be overlooked.
It’s all about the non-verbal cues
Any psychologist will tell you that 90% of communication is non-verbal. Even if you are on a video call, it can be easy to miss those small ways that we use build trust, or make our feelings known. There are hundreds of small gestures that all add up to the bigger picture, which is all-important when you are forming a new business contact.
Non-verbal communication can be anything from a facial expression, to eye contact, body language, hand gestures, and tone of voice. This type of communication is considered so powerful, that in the US, some judges will order lawyers to curb nonverbal gestures in order to avoid unduly influencing the jury, Very Well Mind reports.
It can create a sense of camaraderie and teamwork
When we are together in the same room as our teammates or potential business partners, it’s easier to engage in spontaneous conversations. This can simply be bonding over a shared experience, or bouncing a creative idea off someone.
Sharing points of view, knowledge, and experience is often how great business ideas come together, and it is much easier to do this when you are in the same room.
There is less potential for conflict or misunderstandings
Sometimes, we can react in a non-verbal way to show that we disagree or agree with someone. For example, a positive idea may mean that we adopt a relaxed posture and speak a little clearer, and an idea that arouses suspicion or anger might mean we are tense and less expressive with our voice and face.
These signs can be easily missed unless you are in the same room with someone, so disagreements can be allowed to fester. When we are communicating face to face, it is much easier to use a quick smile to diffuse a tense situation, and restore the equilibrium.
It is more time efficient
Since the pandemic, many people have been quick to point out that remote meetings save time in commuting and exhibition venue hire. However, long-distance communication can work out more time-consuming in the long run.
Not all colleagues may be present and available at the same time, and you need to go back and forth to clarify points, expand on an idea, or to add your point of view. This type of back and to happens naturally when you are in the same room within a matter of minutes, meaning that everybody takes away the same ideas from the meeting.