Regular contributor Linda Donaldson is the founder of Geometry PR, one of the most respected agencies in the South West. Here Linda discusses why it’s sometimes better to do things face-to-face.
How many times have you received an email and mistaken the tone for something other than intended?
When you fire off that last email on a Friday night, do you stop and think about how it will be perceived by the recipient?
There is one basic way to avoid the miscommunication that emails can create, and that is to remember the true value of face to face communication.
In today’s technological, social media driven culture, we can all be guilty of sending a text message, email, tweet or a post on Facebook as a way of communicating quickly, but with too much haste, and problems can and do arise with overuse. In business, nothing replaces the value of meeting in person.
How many times have you said “It’s good to put a face to a name” when arranging a meeting and have genuinely meant it?
Given that 90% of how we communicate is through non-verbal cues like hand gestures and facial expressions, you can see how important it is to get out from behind your desk. Talking to people either in person or over the phone is, I find, a much more efficient way to get things done. One quick phone call can answer a question, solve, and even avoid a problem, and it beats sending countless emails back and forth and waiting for the other person to respond.
Relationships which are built from personal interaction are more likely to be sustained and can really add value in terms of building up your corporate reputation. Having a positive, enthusiastic member of staff who can engage potential new clients and talk passionately and positively about your business is priceless. Enthusiasm is hard to communicate by writing alone, whereas a presentation or speech can inspire and captivate a room.
So when work life is busy, it’s very important to avoid hiding behind your computer screen, and when you have a difficult piece of news or business to discuss, it is more likely you can resolve an issue by picking up the phone or arranging a meeting rather than relying on email. By reading body language it is much easier to gauge a reaction.
Networking events are a great way to making new contacts, tell people about your business and generally practice the art of conversation. But if you are not a naturally outgoing or confident person then they can feel like a daunting place to go on your own. My top tip is always have something in mind that will help you naturally start a discussion and not require you to have to immediately dive into the “what do you do?” scenario, perhaps take stock of the news of the day rather than commenting on the weather!
Having said that, as business has become more global and fast-paced, the beauty of email and internet tools such as Skype is the ability to communicate 24/7 quickly and efficiently. And in many cases it is invaluable to have a written record or a communication to share with other team members, or to fall back on as proof of an agreed action. Building up a corporate reputation is an ongoing task, but the more you get out and network and socialise within the right circles, the stronger your reputation will become. It’s true that there really is nothing better than having a conversation. Yes, there is a time and a place for email and other non-visual communication, but choose to use it wisely. If you can get out and meet someone then do.
To find out more about Geometry PR visit their website at: www.geometrypr.co.uk or call 01225 422051
Follow Geometry PR on Twitter: @geometrypr
Pictured above: Linda Donaldson of Geometry PR