During recent disruptions to trade, ascribed to Brexit, COVID, the war in Ukraine or other global economic challenges, we have become used to online meetings and facetime calls to keep in touch with business associates, staff and friends.
Now that restrictions are easing it is worth reconsidering the value of face-to-face conversations.
Experts agree that communication is more engaging when employees meet in person and that virtual meetings are less effective at building trust.
Psychologists would point to the non-verbal cues that are lost when we are distanced from those with whom we communicate.
Perhaps we should keep talking and re-establish face-to-face contact with our business contacts?
Keeping in touch, face-to-face, may help us relax and sharing problems, common experiences and figuring out how those problems can be solved may lead to more productive outcomes than those afforded by15-minute conversations online.
For example, in a business context, if you can call on customers to discover their challenges this may reveal opportunities for you to step in and offer a solution.
On the flip side of these arguments, virtual meetings can afford significant cost savings. And many jobs are now advertised where working at home is permitted for part of the week. Perhaps what we need is a sensible combination of the two processes. Key meetings where expected outcomes are required may benefit from sitting at a common table. Follow-up clarifications being settled online.