Talking on your phone, emailing, texting, teleconferencing, instant messaging, or meeting via the internet – each offers communication benefits. But, “nothing beats the power of a truly personal, face-to-face connection.”
In her article, “5 Reasons You Need to Meet in Person,” for Inc. Magazine, Renee Shimada Siegel also explains that “no matter what industry we’re in, we’re all in the people business…and we’ll only be successful if we really get to know our customers and colleagues.” Siegel offers five reasons why a personal meeting beats a virtual one.
- “You’re off the record.” Your clients or colleagues can be more forthcoming in person, discussing business as well as sharing interests, unique team dynamics or an executive’s personality quirks, that help you connect in a more meaningful way than other communication options.
- “Make use of not-so-small talk. Business relationships are built when people take the time to share and learn more about each other…which happens more naturally in person than over the phone or in an email.”
- “Make an impression.” Renee bought a new “knock-off handbag…faux ostrich and pink.” Despite the fact that she worried that it was not business professional, she received compliments from the women and even a man. Little did she know that it “would be such a great conversation starter and deliver such a strong personal statement? How do you do that over Skype?”
- “Read the body language. Facial expressions often communicate so much more than words. … That ability to “read” a candidate beyond their keywords is a huge competitive advantage for us.”
- “Learn where the action is. I find out so much when I visit one of my clients in their office. … The environment speaks volumes and may factor into your business proposal or plan. By understanding company dynamics, we can communicate more effectively to meet their needs. … As a business owner, I try to remember customers want to work with someone they can relate to, not just buy from.”
More 1st Person PR Benefits
In their book, Communicating at Work, authors Ronald B. Adler and Jeanne Marquardt Elmhorst, discuss communication channels and optimal use of telephone and voice mail, email and written communication, teleconferencing and videoconferencing, instant messaging, Twitter and comparable social media.
When discussing face-to-face communication, Adler and Elmhort explain that “talking to others in person has several apparent advantages.”
- “Richness. Richness refers to the number of channels available, such as facial expression, tone of voice, eye and body movement” and other “nonverbal cues that help you better understand” that person.
- “Speed. Once you make contact with your audience, there’s no time lag between the transmission of a message and its reception. If you need a price or have to have the funds in an account released now, putting your request in a letter or memo won’t be much help.”
- “Control. You might spend hours drafting a … letter only to have the recipient superficially scan or not read it….In personal contact, you have more command over the reader’s attention….which permits instantaneous response.”
- “Personal quality. Face-to-face contact has the potential to create personal bonds that are more difficult in other types of communication….Nothing takes the place of a handshake, going to lunch, seeing their eyes.”
Yes, in-person conversations or meetings aren’t always realistic or possible, given budgets and geography. But, when they are possible and optimal, go for 1st Person PR. And if you have face-to-face stories you would like to share, we will…right here.