Why do we prefer face-to-face communication?
Evolution probably goes a long way to explaining it. No matter what language we speak, there are some universal physical cues that provide important context and allow information to be shared despite the barriers in place.
It’s an interesting question because in spite of the enormous proliferation of technology that facilitate all manner of interaction, we still gravitate towards that which offers us the ability to look someone in the face.
The telephone was invented in 1876, providing the first voice-to-ear communication. It was a huge step forward, and defined the way long-distance talking was done for over a century.
And yet, when technology finally allowed it, humans clamored to take advantage of visual augmentation. No retro-futuristic imagination was complete without an in-home video conferencing set up. When it finally became possible, it wasn’t through a wall-mounted system, but through desktop computers and mobile devices.
However, without the proper video technology, the true value of face-to-face can be lost. A grainy, choppy stream simply can’t replace an in-person interaction. With high quality video, this isn’t a problem.
Here’s three ways face-to-face communication is more effective than its counterparts and how video conferencing facilitates it:
- Non-verbal Cues
Ever heard the expression “smiling eyes?” Obviously a smile refers to your mouth, and in theory your eyes shouldn’t have anything to do with it. Yet, the way someone’s eyes look are a key indicator to their emotional engagement with the conversation.
In a business context, the non-verbal cues are important contextual information to ensure information has been conveyed effectively. Anyone could send an email, but more often than not a meeting is booked. It’s impossible to tell whether or not the email was fully understood, acknowledged or considered. But with a face-to-face meeting, the level of engagement becomes obvious.
But what happens when an in-person meeting just isn’t possible? For many companies, clients, offices and partners are scattered across a geographical expanse. This can make meeting in person a challenge or even an impossibility.
Video conferencing exists to facilitate the in-depth interaction that face-to-face allows by ensuring all the non-verbal cues are conveyed accurately. If you’re meeting with someone via audio conferencing they might be totally checked-out and not paying full attention (or even the dreaded “multi-tasking.”) On video conferencing, no such distraction can go unnoticed, fostering a more engaging meeting.
By seeing these non-verbal cues, meetings are more effective with more engagement from every party involved.
- Increased Productivity
Have you ever been stuck on one of those endless email chains?
While there’s no doubt that email is an essential office tools, as information and details become more complex, conveying it over email can become frustrating. Lengthy email chains with multiple participants can become frustratingly hard to decipher.
Of course, there’s always office phones and audio conferencing. But therein lies other troubles that come from not being able to speak face-to-face with others. Everyone who’s ever participated in an audio meeting knows the stumbling block of constant interruptions and having to wait (unsure) until someone is done speaking.
Because of these obstacles, productivity and effectiveness can suffer. Emails might require several re-readings, and audio meetings could drag on without much accomplished. To all of these, video conferencing provides a solution.
With face-to-face communication, communication is seamless and effective. Rather than missing information in an email and a tedious back and forth to get things sorted out, clarification can be asked instantly. And, when it’s done with video instead it’s easy to see when people are finished making their point allowing for fewer interruptions and a more efficient meeting.
- More Personal
There’s no doubt that talking with someone face-to-face fosters a more personal interaction. There’s a reason it’s considered gauche to break up with someone over the phone, and why it’s preferable to interview candidates in person. There’s just something to be said about looking someone in the face when you communicate.
In a business setting, adding a personal element can up the impact your communication has. Many office employees are so inundated with meetings, emails and phone calls, information can get lost in the clutter.
Video conferencing (and the face-to-face communication it allows) helps to break through and restore meaningful interactions. Looking at someone in the face, seeing how they react to what you say, and ensuring your message is being observed simply makes for better communication.
Business communication is more effective when it takes place face-to-face.
While much of the information exchanged in an office setting is still done through email or audio calls, it can lack effectiveness and efficiency, hindering all parties involved.
Physical, in-person meetings might not always be possible. That’s where video conferencing comes in – it acts to facilitate impactful face-to-face interactions to improve business communication.
If you’re company is looking to have more efficient meetings don’t wait – contact us today and have a free trial of RP1Cloud.
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