Virtual or Visual?

In today’s world of emails, social media and text messages, it is easy to become dependent on the convenience of virtual communication. After all, you can access communications outside of ‘working hours’; how often do we check or respond to emails in our evenings or weekends?!

However, I regularly encourage my clients to maintain face-to-face communications within their businesses. I fully believe that face-to-face interactions remain important and we need to balance online exchanges with physical meetings.

It is clear, through talking with clients and the wider GJC team, that we all still want to do business with contacts we know and trust. As a result, a short time in someone’s company is often worth hours of email exchanges.  

Of course, there is a strong argument for virtual conversations to take priority in business. They are quicker and can be conducted anywhere in the world, at any time. But the ability to hold wider conversations and gauge non-verbal cues and responses are key factors to support the need for face-to-face meetings. An email can be interpreted in many ways and I’ve often seen misinterpretation lead to issues which in reality never existed. There is a comfort to be had from seeing someone as they talk and from the wider conversation established due to finding a shared interest or making a connection.

Whilst we would hope that the future of business communications is to achieve a balance between the technological methods and human conversation, signs suggest that we are not on course to achieve this. Recent studies, including one completed by the University of California in 2014, suggest that social skills for the next generation (our children) are on the decline as we complete less face-to-face interactions in favour of digital media. The study suggests that children are losing the ability to read emotional cues and struggle with the social skills they will need in later life to successfully complete face-to-face communication.

This emerging problem could predictably impact resources and human interactions within the businesses of the future. This lack of face-to-face communication, both now and in the future, needs to be addressed. Senior and HR management within companies have to provide opportunities and training to help employees achieve successful and meaningful conversations on a face-to-face level. Indeed, the need to build a ‘Trust Board’ has never been greater.

For more details about GJC’s training sessions on building a ‘Trust Board,’ get in touch!