We all know how technology enables communication – email, voicemail, text message, instant message, Twitter . . . the list goes on. There are more than enough ways to communicate, and too often they add up to message overload for employees.
That’s why when something is important, nothing compares to face-to-face communication. When a leader needs to inspire people — or move them to action — the best way to do it is to look people in the eye.
Communicating face-to-face sends a message before you say a word. People will not only hear what you are saying, they will perceive the greater meaning of your tone, voice inflection, emotion and body language. And hopefully they will put down their phones to show you that they are engaged.
Why should you communicate face to face?
Being there in person tells your audience they are important to you and the issue you are discussing is worth your time and theirs. Your focus will get people’s attention and increase the potential for your message to be heard.
Interpret thoughts and feelings
When you are face-to-face, you can see and respond to people’s reactions –facial expressions and body language – as well as their tone of voice. Leaders have the chance to show they care by asking probing questions and actively listening to understand the audience’s perspective. This is especially critical when you need employees to adopt new behaviors to advance your goals, such as in times of change.
Enhance credibility and trust
Leaders need to build trust to be effective. Face-to-face interaction allows you to share your strategy, explain it clearly, and answer questions honestly. Those in the room will see how your actions align with your words, which will increase your credibility and trust.
Interacting directly with other leaders, managers and employees expands your network and establishes shared experience that can enhance future communication. It also helps create camaraderie that is the basis of cooperation and success across the organization.
Meeting in person helps employees feel valued and gives them a chance to contribute input to organizational strategies and communication. It gives you a chance to confirm people’s understanding of key issues, identify gaps and encourage ongoing feedback and engagement.
Address sensitive issues
Finally, one of the biggest benefits of face-to-face communication is demonstrating respect for employees and a commitment to a successful outcome when you deal with a sensitive issue face-to-face. Whether you are providing specific feedback to increase their success or delivering a tough message, focus on your desired outcome and prepare by understanding the employee’s mindset and possible reactions. Ultimately, your involvement means a lot and taking the time to meet can help turn a challenging conversation into a trust-building interaction.
If you are working to improve your communication and interaction skills at home and at work, Joy can help! Your message is important, contact Joy today to discover how you can let it be heard.