If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that we are social creatures and need connection. We want and need to see others in person. Although technology is a wonderful choice for many occasions, when it comes to touchy conversations, in-person takes the cake.

There is a certain magic that happens when you shake someone’s hand in the flesh, pat them on the back, and look into their eyes. You can see the nuances of their expressions, decipher their body language more precisely, and make deeper connections.

If you want to really connect with your clients, colleagues, boss and employees, then communicate with them face-to-face.

TIP: The more contentious the issue, the more personal the contact.

Tough talks are difficult. In part, the reason they are hard is because they have consequences. You or they may stand to lose something or someone. That’s scary. 

Although the temptation may be to run away, to ghost someone and not confront them at all, the grown-up way to handle a high-stakes discussion is to do it in-person.

When the stakes are high and the impact very personal, face-to-face is the way to go.

Imagine if you were getting horrible news from a doctor. If you received the message by voicemail or a quick text, you wouldn’t have a chance to respond, to ask questions, to more clearly understand the impact. Face-to-face allows not just the more intimate reading of the person, it permits synchronous communication. You can ask or receive questions, and get or give answers. It allows for quick clarification.

Not everyone is great at in-person conversations. Perhaps you don’t feel comfortable with off-the-cuff responses. Or maybe the next day, you think of the perfect question you could have asked. That’s why allowing for follow-up is a terrific approach. Keep the gates open and the dialogue free. It maintains relationships and helps avoid misunderstandings.

Nowadays, there is a vast array of communication vehicles available to you at any time, most of them electronic. Think email, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, texting, chat lines, voicemail, Skype, the list goes on and on. Do you find yourself overwhelmed and wondering which vehicle is best for you to connect with others? Truth is, there is no “best” one, just different ways.

Are you wondering which communication vehicle to use?

The answer is, “it depends” on …

  • the person with whom you’re communicating
  • the degree of “touchiness” or delicate nature of the subject
  • the urgency of the matter
  • the degree of emotional investment
  • the amount of risk riding on the conversation

All that being said, let me share with you my personal belief — when it comes to building relationships …

There is nothing, absolutely no technology, that will ever replace face-to-face communication.

In the vehicles of communication, in-person is the Cadillac, the Mercedes, the Porsche, or the … fill in the blank with whatever WOW car you have in your mind. When people meet in person, there is a visceral response, a gut reaction, a literal change in brain chemistry. Looking into someone’s eyes evokes an emotional response. Shaking a hand and “pressing the flesh” results in deepening relationships and strengthening rapport.

This is exactly why conferences and conventions still took place during the recent years of tightened budgets; why town halls and meetings hosted by corporate leaders in person are effective in building teams and breaking both good and bad news; and why bonding with clients over coffee works.

One of my most satisfying moments is when I have the opportunity to meet clients in person.

Whether I’m speaking at a conference, coaching or consulting, it’s these face-to-face communications that really make me feel connected with YOU! Do you know what I mean?

Think about the last time you met someone in person for the first time. You felt certain energy, right? The more important that person or relationship is to you, the stronger the excitement. If you’ve ever met a celebrity you admire, you know the feeling … and the significance of face-to-face.

So here’s your task:

Think of one person you know you want to really connect with — and do it this week. In-person. Why? Because when it’s really important, there is nothing, absolutely nothing, that replaces face-to-face. 

Next time you have an issue that’s keeping you awake at night, a high-stakes, contentious topic that affects others, consider communicating it face to face. More often than not, your effort and personal touch will soften the blow and take the edge off the discussion. Now go have that talk and get it off your chest. You deserve no less.

Need a confidence boost? You’ve had tough talks before that went really well. Close your eyes and remember that moment. You are that same, confident person you were then. You can do this. You have before and will again. 

You got this.

©2023 Marion Grobb Finkelstein (MarionSpeaks)

Marion Grobb Finkelstein
Keynote Speaker / Corporate Trainer / Author
Recipient of APEX “Award for Leadership in Service Innovation”
SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube videos at YouTube.com/@MarionSpeaks/videos

Leadership communication expert, Marion Grobb Finkelstein shows leaders at any level how to build resilient and respectful workplaces by changing how they communicate. Chat with her at www.facebook.com/MarionSpeaks or
www.linkedin.com/in/marionspeaks and sign up for her FREE “Marion’s Communication Tips” at www.MarionSpeaks.com

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Marion Grobb Finkelstein

Marion Grobb Finkelstein helps leaders use their natural communication strengths to build resilient teams that talk.

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