Do you have a team of people that digitally connect daily, but face-to-face is a rare occurrence? Technology has taken our communications to new digital heights, with agile and paperless working easier than ever to adapt to. Content sharing and interaction is at the tips of our fingers, with electronic capabilities providing access to work almost anywhere. Through being constantly available online, the process for interaction is simpler. Work can be more efficient, and collaboration can happen instantly. But is the lack of face-to-face contact impacting us more than we think? Below we look at the missed opportunities of not taking any of our meetings offline.
“Various studies have shown that it is more difficult to build trust in virtual teams, harder for informal leaders to emerge, tougher to create genuine dialogue, and easier for misunderstandings to escalate”. By meeting in person you not only build trust but credibility of the other. It helps to establish a more meaningful partnership with the other person, which cannot be achieved as easy digitally.
What could transform into a 30-minute email thread, can be brainstormed through in 5. People are less likely to talk over one another, time lag will not be an issue and the connection won’t be fuzzy. Collaboration can happen naturally as ideas are freely bounced around. Immediate feedback is gained from all parties being present.
It is suggested that non-verbal cues speaks louder than words. You gain a better understanding of a person’s situation by grasping their face-to-face encounters and immediate reactions. Their feelings and tones can also be better understood, which can sometimes be misinterpreted digitally.
By meeting face-to-face it shows transparency, and allows for more open communication to be given. Thought doesn’t have to go to a well-written email or a consolidated feedback sentence, and open dialogue can be used to really ascertain the situation or solution at present.
By having each other’s attention, it shows willingness to put time and effort into the meeting. This makes the partnership valued and as though you are both on a shared mission. This value provides a strong foundation for trust, and therefore future collaboration.
Digital interactions allow for efficiency and cost-saving benefits, and many will say meaningful relationships are achieved though electronic communication. Having a video conference call in lieu of flying to another country for a meeting makes sense in efficiency and cost-saving. However being in the same room still counts for a lot. Face-to-face is an information-rich method which will always be necessary to growing strong foundations in team work, collaboration and connectivity.