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It’s unbelievable how dependent we’ve become as a society on electronic communication devices! E-mail, text messaging, PDA’s, cell phones, video conferencing, blackberries, blueberries, rasberries, and more… have taken the place of good old fashioned, face-to-face communication leading to many interpersonal difficulties and miscommunications in today’s workplace. You may be thinking… Why improve my interpersonal skills when most businesses do 99% of communication by telephone, teleconferencing, videoconferencing, e-mail, and on rare occasions, snail mail. A popular way of thinking today… but, is it really the correct way? Face-to-face communication remains the most powerful human interaction,” says Kathleen Begley, Ed. D. , author of Face-to-Face Communication, Making Human Connections in a Technology-Driven World. “As wonderful as electronic devices are, they can never fully replace the intimacy and immediacy of people conversing in the same room and it has worked for millions of years. ” “Too many people take the easy way out and try and do everything via e-mail and in a lot of cases consume more time on both sides of the equation than they would have by simply picking up the phone or going to see the person,” said one survey respondent.

I often find that when I look the other person in the eyes and ask them something I get far more than I ever would over e-mail. ” “Personal discussion is the foundation of communications,” said another respondent. “Once this foundation is established, it enables all of the other forms of communication. Having a personal connection builds trust and minimizes misinterpretation and misunderstanding. ” Using e-mail rather than personal discussion can also delay decision-making. “I find that many executives avoid conversation because they may be forced to make a decision or express an opinion,” said one respondent. If they can keep communications within e-mail, they can continually pass the buck around or back without having to commit. Management by failure to act may be the new favored process. ” Today, most of your clients, colleagues and stakeholders are just a phone call or email away — technology has made communication that simple. However, while tools like telephones and computers score high on convenience and speed, they lack the warmth and emotion that face-to-face communication provides.

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Appreciating colleagues In the words of Helen Keller, ‘We are all walking with a signboard on our forehead which reads — ‘Appreciate me’. It seems we have replaced the pat on the back with ‘Thank you’ and ‘Good job’ emails. But there is nothing that motivates someone more than seeing their boss walk up to them and appreciate them in front of everyone. Go to your colleague’s cubicle and congratulate them on the great report they sent or the presentation they made recently. I remember one of my ex-bosses who used to call us team members to his cabin just to say ‘thanks’ and pat our backs. The team immediately took a liking to him as most people expect a warning or feedback when the boss invites them to their cabin

Criticising or providing feedback When you provide feedback over an email or a phone call, the receiver may have a completely different perception about its relevance. This effect is amplified when you are not communicating face-to-face. The reader or listener may think you are cold and indifferent and that’s why you avoided meeting them in person to discuss the issue. A face-to-face meeting gives you the opportunity to put your point across, while being sensitive and diplomatic at the same time. Assigning new responsibility

There is a great risk of the message getting diluted when a responsibility gets delegated through email or a phone call. Don’t be surprised if your team does not show a sense of ownership or complete tasks on time if you are not communicating face-to-face. Nonverbal communication, such as tone of voice, facial gestures and eye contact help individuals understand the importance of a task and the need to complete it on time. Damage control with clients If you haven’t provided the product or service the client expected, you are putting your relationship with the client at stake.

An apology mail would not suffice in a sensitive issue like this. Go to the client’s office, if possible, without them having to call you for an explanation, and reassure them that the confidence they demonstrated when they gave you business was not misplaced. Your client would be pleasantly surprised that you took the time to come and meet them, especially when things went wrong. Resolving conflicts Workplace conflicts are common in most organisations. The lack of interpersonal communication only worsens the situation.

It’s important to remember that 55 per cent of meaning in an interaction comes from facial and body language and 38 per cent comes from vocal inflection. Only seven per cent of an interaction’s meaning is derived from the words themselves. So, trying to resolve a conflict over email or a phone call is often a bad idea. The main advantage of face-t-face or direct interviews is that the researcher can adapt the questions as necessary, clarify doubt and ensure that the responses are properly understood, by repeating or rephrasing the questions.

The researcher can also pick up nonverbal cues from the respondent. Any discomfort, stress and problems that the respondent experiences can be detected through frowns, nervous taping and other body language, unconsciously exhibited by any person. This would be impossible to detect in a telephone interview. So face-to-face helps the interviewee to get the desired results and help them the expression of the person to whom they are interviewing. By reading the facial expression of the respondent the interviewer can easily understand what the respondent want to tell them about any thing.

The main disadvantages of face-to-face interviews are the geographically limitations they may impose on the surveys and the vast resources needed if such surveys need to be done nationally or internationally. The costs of training interviewers to minimize interviewer’s biases for example differences in questioning methods, interpretation of response are also high. Another drawback is that respondents might feel uneasy about the anonymity of their responses when they interact face to face interviews. Advantages, as always are body language.

Over a telephone or Internet you can not see the person and there is always the trust and suspicion aspect. If you are face to face you have broken down the “is this person really a 16 year old girl” and all of the weird people who go on to the Internet to be other people, which is dangerous to children and adults alike. The psychology as well behind face to face meeting is watching the body language such as shifting around in the chair, or arms crossed, when they are not comfortable answering a question and also like this if they don’t know the answer, they can not call a friend or google it, they have to be up front.

In saying all of this i do not encourage meeting face to face with people who you have met over the Internet or over a telephone as this is unsafe and must be only done with adult supervision or with a group of people. If in doubt call authorities to be safe. Read more: http://wiki. answers. com/Q/Advantages_of_face-to-face_communication#ixzz16PD8idn4 Disagree In other cases, communicating via technology can be effective. “Instant messages and e-mail are communication accelerators,” said one executive. “Discussion databases are more efficient for larger groups. But there is no substitute for in-person communication when appropriate. ”

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