The digital age has imposed changes in human culture; technology has changed how we work and how we communicate. Communication has suffered a negative impact: loss of face-to-face communication.
A hug from your best friend and good morning to your neighbor can have a much more significant impact on your quality of life than you might think.
Human communication triggers psychological and biochemical events that build trust and promote empathy.
Although they often go unnoticed, eye contact and synchronization of body posture and tone of voice with someone we speak to face-to-face deepen mutual understanding.
For example, job applicants who unconsciously mirror the gestures of their interviewers are often offered better starting salary offers.
Sports teams encouraged to exchange pats on the back, clap fists, and shake hands tend to score more points.
Although the internet has limited face-to-face communication, we should periodically be involved in this type of communication because it has several advantages.
We are social animals that have evolved for close contact; when we are around others, we release hormones and neurotransmitters that allow us to solve problems, reduce stress, feel safe and ward off loneliness.
|Summary of advantages of face-to-face communication|
|Better body language|
|Building of empathy|
|Detect non-verbal cues|
|Strengthens work environments|
|Increase information content|
|Increase perception of feelings|
|Opens door of invitation|
|Deep communication with other parties|
|Faster Brain activity|
|Convey the more accurate message|
|Respect and appreciation|
|Release hormones of happiness|
|Team building outside of office|
|Inspire team personally|
|Enhance the power of the human face|
|Dealing with the sensitive issues|
Interestingly, some research reveals that without face-to-face contact, human connection decline.
If you haven’t seen someone in the last two to five years, your position in your circle of friends has likely been taken up by someone else.
Therefore, face-to-face communication is essential because it offers the following benefits:
Table of Contents
1. Body Language
Body language speaks much louder than words; you can better understand how a candidate or client is feeling than you can through other forms of communication.
When you’re face-to-face, you can see and respond to people’s reactions, such as facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice.
Leaders have a chance to show they care by asking probing questions and actively listening to understand the audience’s perspective.
2. Building of Empathy
Probably the greatest added value of personal conversations: Gestures, facial expressions, posture, and tone of voice express feelings to a large extent – sometimes more than what is said.
It is the only way to create authentic emotions that “infect” the other person and allow them to share in the other person’s emotional world.
The so-called mirror neurons are activated in our brain during a positive conversation. With their help, we unconsciously build stronger relationships with our counterparts by imitating their voice, movements, and gestures.
It allows us to understand the feelings and intentions of the other person and to put ourselves in their shoes: Why is the other person acting or reacting the way they are?
Another plus point is during a personal exchange, the human brain constantly registers non-verbal stimuli and subconsciously incorporates them into decisions.
3. Read non-verbal cues
Studies show that up to 93% of information is transmitted through non-verbal channels in personal communication. That’s why it’s essential to see the people you’re talking to and interpret their reactions.
When speaking in a meeting, you can gauge the person’s understanding and interest in your presentation by observing their facial expressions, posture, and gestures.
If they are fiddling with a pen or checking their phone, you may need to change your tone to get their attention.
Similarly, if co-workers actively nod and smile, it is evident that they are engaged and understand what you are trying to convey.
4. Strengthens work relationships
Face-to-face contact strengthens personal workplace relationships compared to a virtual meeting.
Interaction and socialization in the physical work environment increase the collaboration among professionals and create a collaborative environment.
A manager who maintains a face-to-face dialogue with employees in communication strengthens working relationships. In this way, employee confidence in the company increases.
5. Increase information content
Miscommunication is one of the leading causes of inefficiency in the workplace. Digital communications are the main attributor of many of these issues and how they are interpreted.
Imagine trying to explain a complex project via email or instant messages and then answering questions all day long.
Instead, you can clearly explain the objective of the entire project, get feedback and responses, and answer all questions via person meetings.
A single face-to-face meeting ensures that all meeting participants have seen and heard all instructions, feedback, questions, and answers.
6. Increases perception of feelings
A face-to-face conversation allows the manager to decipher the people’s feelings on his team in a better way. How the employee feels is the key to maintaining an excellent organizational climate.
The employee’s body language, facial expressions, and attentiveness are not noticeable when he answers the phone or reads an email.
Communicating in person allows leaders to identify changes and anticipate solutions for good people management.
For ABB, a giant in the field of digital technologies present in more than 100 countries, face-to-face communication is the best way to retain employees.
7. Opens the door to innovation
When the manager allows employees to talk directly and receive feedback on the work, it opens space for innovation.
It is because it better understands what happens daily, being able to invest in the continuous improvement of its processes.
The engagement that face-to-face dialogue achieves can function as actual brainstorming.
8. Deep communication with the other party
Face-to-face communication is most effective when you want to establish “trust in sincere intentions.”
In social psychology, trust has been said to be in the “ability” of the other person and trust in the “honest intention.”
Trust in abilities is the confidence that this person has enough abilities to be entrusted with the work with peace of mind.
In contrast, trust in sincere intentions will not be fraudulent or betraying because this person is sincere.
To confirm this trust, non-verbal clues such as facial expressions and gestures are essential, so face-to-face will have an advantage over online.
Also, if you communicate face-to-face, you will get a “sense of communication” that you can understand each other. It should also help build confidence in good faith intent.
For example, it’s difficult for new employees to join the team smoothly without meeting their boss or colleagues.
At the very least, they will need to talk face-to-face with their boss several times to ensure and enhance their trust in their sincere intentions.
It is not recommended to skip such beneficial communication and proceed all online.
Furthermore, observing the person in front of you with all five senses can accurately find hidden needs, a unique benefit of back-and-forth communication.
Such benefits are also effective in communicating within the company culture.
Face-to-face conversations with colleagues will help you better understand each other’s personalities and help you work more smoothly.
9. Brain Activation
If you keep withdrawing without meeting people in person, you may experience a phenomenon such as “words do not come out” when you have a face-to-face conversation for the first time in a long time.
Speaking face-to-face with a person uses a lot of brain, and if you do not talk with a person for a long time, the brain is blurred, so the part (language center) that tries to speak does not work well. You get stuck in words.
In addition, when we meet and talk in person, we naturally read the other person’s facial expressions and make reasonable changes based on the content of the conversation.
In other words, it is processed in a complicated manner using the brain other than the language center.
Therefore, on the contrary, meeting people and talking face to face can improve your brain function. It is a great advantage to have face-to-face communication.
For example, there’s a saying that salespeople don’t get old, and one reason for this is that they manage the amount of face-to-face communication.
10. Youthful Appearance
Another merit of talking face-to-face is keeping your appearance youthful and not getting old.
When you talk directly, you are also seen by the other person, so you are conscious of trying to get the minimum look, and in fact, you act that way.
Celebrities and models are hard to get old, and of course, there are efforts by the person himself, but because of this strong awareness of being “seen by people,” it is hard to get old.
11. Convey of More Accurate Message
Also, the advantage of meeting and talking directly with people is that you can tell the other person what you want to convey more accurately.
For example, when sending emails, the other person’s face cannot be seen; only sentences (text) are sent, which gets into a somewhat “cold situation.”
12. Respect and Appreciation
Taking the time for an attentive conversation is not a matter of course but almost a luxury that must be arranged in advance.
If someone invests valuable time in face-to-face conversation, we automatically feel much more valued than if we received a boring text message.
We all know that time is a scarce commodity – if your counterpart is willing to give you a valuable part of it, then you are important to him!
13. More clarity
In a face-to-face conversation, there are many ways to get a message across: wild gestures, grimaces, an ironic smile, a sarcastic tone of voice, or a strained voice, for example.
These non-verbal and para-verbal forms of expression help the other person interpret the message correctly: what is said is supported, invalidated, or even replaced (e.g., with silence or laughter).
However, these signals, which resonate between the spoken lines in a conversation, are missing in digital communication – there is (too) much room for interpretation.
We can see from the immediate feedback from our interlocutor whether our message was received as intended.
If the person we are talking to looks at us in confusion or astonishment, we have the opportunity to explain or correct our statements.
Or even better: our conversation partner asks directly, thus eliminating any misunderstanding before it arises.
14. Release of happiness hormones
The physiological effect of a good conversation has been underestimated for far too long! Researchers from the Stanford School of Medicine found that our bodies release a hormone called oxytocin when we are around others.
And oxytocin ensures that serotonin is released – this “happiness hormone” leads to a general state of happiness in the brain’s reward center.
In other words, meeting a friend or spending time with a loved one is proven to bring happiness and physical and mental well-being – a win/win situation that is second to none!
15. Team building outside of the office
To build a loyal team, an environment must be created where employees have personal connections. Collaboration is often spontaneous.
Interaction with employees does not have to be limited to team meetings or even exclusively in the office.
Many companies organize team events or off-sites that allow employees to meet outside their daily routine. It creates synergies and relationships for a successful outcome.
16. Personally inspire the team
Howard Schultz resigned as Starbucks CEO in 2000 but returned in 2008 after the company ran into trouble and its stock price fell 42 percent.
Schultz assembled all 10,000 store managers in New Orleans and spent $30 million to avert the crash.
He wanted to work out the strategy for the entrepreneurial turnaround face-to-face and inspire his employees, whom he referred to as “partners.”
His in-person communication strategy worked: Starbucks celebrated a successful team comeback.
17. The power of the human face
Charles Darwin is known for his research on evolution. At the same time, he also conducted one of the earliest studies of the human face.
He researched how people recognize and interpret the emotions of others through their facial expressions. Two centuries later, his research is more relevant than ever.
From technology to workplace design to creative management, countless strategies exist to bring employees closer together and help move the business forward.
Businesses increasingly realize what science has already proven: that humans are social creatures and that communication is most effective face-to-face.
18. Dealing with Sensitive Issue
It may be tempting to avoid a serious conversation and send a text message, but we can only address sensitive issues face-to-face.
Private things can be discussed openly without the risk that someone else might accidentally read your messages.
It is also easier to respect the other person in a face-to-face encounter, especially regarding sensitive issues, because revealing your feelings to someone is a sign of trust.
It may be uncomfortable initially, but serious conversations with friends and family can form lifelong bonds.
With the new COVID pandemic outbreak, the trend of non-face-to-face communication that has swept the business world is expected to continue.
However, on the other hand, the need for face-to-face communication is being reaffirmed. As face-to-face communications become more valuable, their value is higher than ever.
If you make good use of the merits of face-to-face communication in business, it could be a trump card for improving business performance.
So what do you prefer now, video chat, virtual team video conference, audio call, or face-to-face communication between employees?
(Last Updated on August 23, 2022)