Face-to-face communication is still important for business

4th May 2021 | 3 min read

Technology has changed the way we communicate with email, text messages, messaging apps, social media and virtual meeting software all making communicating with our colleagues, family members and friends nearly instantaneous, less time-consuming with little effort required. 

Yet, face-to-face communication is still important, especially in the workplace, as it enables you to make eye contact, register a person’s body language and tone of voice much better than when communicating remotely. In fact there are many benefits of face-to-face communication. We’ve explored some of these below.

Trust and rapport building

The main advantage of communicating in person is that you get a truer sense of the other person’s thoughts, feelings and emotions. Studies have suggested that as much as 93% of communication is non-verbal, so being able to read and respond to someone’s reactions, facial expressions and body language, as well as their tone of voice, goes a long way to building trust and making a more genuine connection.

Studies conducted during lockdown have suggested that although video calls are the best form of face-to-face communication we have currently, the reduced eye contact, technical glitches, WiFi connectivity issues and audio lag that can hamper video calls are affecting how trustworthy we perceive our colleagues to be. 

Additionally, clients who never see your face are unlikely to feel connected to you, which will reduce their trust in you and the business. Meeting clients in-person will help to build stronger relationships and working connections. 

Demonstration of respect 

When talking about sensitive issues at work, it’s much better to have a meeting face-to-face. Discussing sensitive issues via email is not only unprofessional, but it also indicates a lack of respect towards the person in question. Whether it’s an employee’s health, reviewing pay, promotions or performance, or delivering negative feedback, make time to have the meeting in person. A face-to-face meeting shows employees that you take them seriously and are committed to dedicating valuable time to their career progression and health. 

It’s more persuasive

In business, we frequently need to convince other people of our point of view and the best way to do this successfully is face-to-face. Tone of voice, body language and your presence in a room convey your perspective more efficiently than being hidden behind a screen. You can also engage more with attendees, answer their questions directly and change your approach based on reading the room.

Efficiency

We’re all familiar with long, confusing email chains. Different people have been added in at multiple stages over a lengthy period of time, the problem has been passed from person to person and we lose track of its original purpose. By contrast, face-to-face conversations solve problems more quickly and effectively. 

Remote face-to-face communication

If face-to-face communication in person isn’t possible because you are dealing with clients or colleagues overseas, then making sure you’re seen on video calls instead is still hugely valuable in terms of building trust and connections, creating a feeling of respect and it can simply provide welcome relief from the non-stop screens, emails and meetings.