The Importance of Face-to-Face Communication in the Modern Workforce

by in Best Practices, Meeting Room

I recently had the privilege of traveling to a remote part of northern Nebraska to interview the chairman of the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska for a Lifesize case study. We first met over an audio-only conference call since the chairman was traveling between locations and couldn’t connect over video. Between the spotty connection and not being able to see the nonverbal cues, I finished the call feeling disconnected — like we were not on the same page. Contrast that to our second video conference call where we spoke face to face, and it felt like I was meeting the chairman for the first time. By being able to see him I had a better understanding of what he was trying to communicate, and it began to foster a relationship between us. This connection made the in-person interview more personal and helped me tell the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska’s story in a meaningful way.   

The digital age of smart phones, social media and instant messaging has made communicating faster and easier than ever, but nothing can quite replace the impact of face to face communications in the workplace.

What is face-to-face communication?

Face-to-face communication is the distinction of being able to see the other party or parties in a conversation. It allows for a better exchange of information since both speaker and listener are able to see and interpret body language and facial expressions. Face-to-face communication doesn’t have to be done by people in the same physical space; the benefits can also be achieved over a video conference call or a more informal video chat. 

How face-to-face communication improves business

In the digital age of smartphones, social media, emails and instant messages, communicating has become faster and easier than ever, but for all the advancements in technology, nothing can quite replace the impact of face-to-face communications in the workplace. 

Read nonverbal cues

 Studies have shown that as much as 93% of communication is nonverbal. That’s why having the ability to see the people you are speaking to and interpret their reactions is so important. When presenting in a meeting you can gauge a person’s understanding and interest in your presentation by observing their facial expressions, posture and gestures. If they are fiddling with their pen or checking their phone, you may need to adjust your tone to capture their attention. Likewise, if coworkers are actively nodding their heads and smiling, it is clear they are engaged and understand what you’re trying to communicate.

Enhance productivity

Miscommunication is one of the major causes of inefficiency in the workplace. Many of these issues can be attributed to digital communications and the various ways they can be interpreted. Imagine trying to explain an intricate project in an email and then spending the whole day fielding questions. Instead, you can clearly explain the entire project, get feedback and answer all questions in one face-to-face meeting. This ensures everyone is on the same page, allowing meeting participants to hear all instructions, feedback, questions and answers at the same time.

Increase credibility

Trust isn’t built over text messages or emails. It’s built through face to-face connections, making eye contact and interpreting body language. This is especially true when you’re meeting someone for the first time. Face-to-face communication allows the other person to see how your actions align with your words and enhances your credibility. 

Build relationships

 It’s far easier to build stronger relationships face to face. Cold calling on the phone or through email is not very personal. The best way to “warm up” a prospect and help build a relationship is to connect with them face to face. It provides a feel of friendliness that, in turn, boosts the success of your relationships.

5 Benefits of face-to-face communication through video conferencing

When meeting in person isn’t an option, video conferencing provides a great alternative. The face-to-face connection allows you to be present and engaged in the meeting, regardless of your physical location.

1. Keep remote workers in the loop

It’s easy to feel left out when you work remotely, especially if most of your team works together in the same office. Video conferencing brings remote workers face to face with in-office employees to collaborate globally and ensure the entire team is working together as one unit. Video conferencing also has the unique ability to bring a human connection to every interaction so remote workers feel connected to the rest of their team.

2. Boost overall productivity

Gather remote and in-office employees together in the same virtual meeting room, at the same time for regularly scheduled meetings and quick, impromptu meetings for better communication. The face-to-face interaction helps build a collaborative environment that inspires and energizes employees to participate in meetings and be more productive. 

3. Reduce travel expenses

Sometimes gathering everyone in one location just isn’t feasible. It can take a significant amount of time for attendees to get to a meeting, not to mention the cost of travel, food and hotel accommodations. Video conferencing is an effective way to meet face to face while saving time and travel costs.

4. Improve communication reliability

Video conferencing provides a fast and secure way to communicate with your entire team face to face. Many companies are even transitioning into video-first organizations, meaning they use video conferencing as the first line of communication and fall back to audio or email only when needed. The improved reliability of video conferencing ensures that your entire message is communicated as intended and not left to misunderstandings or misinterpretations. 

5. Improve value and reduce redundancy

When researching the total cost of ownership (TCO) of a collaboration suite, many companies are unaware of just how much is being spent on all of the different collaboration tools across an organization. Lifesize offers an all-in-one video conferencing solution that includes video and audio conferencing, screen sharing, chat, meeting recording, whiteboarding and event live streaming to support all of the ways your teams communicate and connect.

How WP Engine improved communication at Lifesize

 

WP Engine is the leading WordPress digital experience platform with over 500 employees located in the United States, Europe and Australia. As a company that makes their culture a top priority, they were faced with the challenge of bringing unity to teams spread out over three continents in six different offices. By having Lifesize in meeting spaces throughout each office and on every employee’s laptop, coworkers can instantly connect with one another and managers can effectively manage remote employees in one-on-one video calls. The face-to-face interaction helps employees have engaging conversations and personal connections with managers and team members thousands of miles away.


“By being able to jump on Lifesize, it just feels as though we are one team, one office working together seamlessly.”

— Sarah Jones, Sr., HR Business Partner at WP Engine


Conclusion 

The importance of face-to-face communication is often undervalued in organizations because it’s difficult to measure, but its power in shaping company culture, team engagement and sales outcomes should not be underestimated. When meeting in person isn’t an option, video conferencing allows you to still be present and engaged in the meeting regardless of your physical location. Lifesize’s lifelike 4K video quality makes everyone in the meeting feel like they are in the same room. And the face-to-face interaction lets you see the other person to truly understand them and connect on a deeper level.