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Video conferencing, 'phoning or emailing? Why a face-to-face wins hands down, every time

10th Jan 2015
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We’ve all been there: the nightmare video conference. The picture quality is fuzzy. You can’t quite match up the out-of-sync picture with the sound. And then, best of all, you’re faced with the dreaded picture freeze. It’s an agonizing way to talk to someone.

There’s no doubt that, in this great technological age, computers can be a fabulous asset to business communication. However, it still remains that nothing can quite match a face-to-face business meeting. And if you still need convincing, the following might help you remember why the old-fashioned approach was a pretty good one.

Personal experience

Whilst emails and telephone calls are faceless, nothing says ‘personal’ like a face-to face meeting. Booking an appointment to actually meet someone demonstrates that you value this personal experience.

Commitment to the meeting

A conference call needn’t involve leaving the comfort of your own office (and sometimes this is a great benefit), but a face-to-face meeting shows that you’re prepared to go out of your way to meet up. It demonstrates your commitment to the meeting.

Body language

Body language is important. Countless studies have been carried out on the importance of non-verbal communication. It’s obviously much easier to pick up on the countless signs of positivity, or negativity, when you’re facing a client or colleague. There’s a great deal that, potentially, can be lost, when you’re unable to read the nuances of body language.

Demonstrating your products

If you’ve got products to demonstrate, then a personal meeting is an obvious choice. But, whether you have products or not, you’re always selling yourself. Relying on technology to accurately convey your personality and your confidence, can be risky. Being there, personally, gives you more of a chance to take control of the impression you’re giving.

There’s no doubt that technology can be a fabulous business asset. It can bring businesses together, bridging miles and time zones. Few people would now want to operate without it. But, while the various forms of social media or technology-based communication take over the world, let’s not forget the benefits of the face-to-face meeting. There’s a lot to be said for shaking hands with someone. It’s difficult to do that on a video conference call.

Heather Foley is a consultant at www.etsplc.com, a UK-based HR consultancy, specialising in 360 degree feedback

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