Face-to-face networking is more important in a digital world
Many organisations, including Nexia International, are asking themselves the same question: how do we maximise digital communications and its benefits while encouraging our member firms and employees to interact face-to-face? In other words, how can we be more human in a tech-world?
The benefits of personal interaction
The old ‘7/38/55 rule’ of Albert Mehrabian says that communication is 7% verbal and 93% non-verbal, from which 55% is body language and 38% is tone of voice. Independently of how debatable this rule is, interpersonal contact is often key when talking about effective communication. Non-verbal communication is interpreted subconsciously, which of course impacts upon the development of trust, which is so important in our environment.
Face-to-face meetings ups are often more informal and create a more relaxing atmosphere than an email or a conversation through any other digital channel. Do you notice the same level of satisfaction after a digital interaction than after a productive face-to-face meeting? People tend to unwrap and discuss topics that simply wouldn’t happen during a Skype call. These open conversations help you to better understand the values and philosophies of an individual and their organisation. Do not forget that off-the-record conversations are important for businesses, as the ‘war rooms’ of Silicon Valley have proved over the years.
Swamped calendars and cost are often the reasons for not attending Nexia’s conferences and meetings. But the benefits of networking are important and make the inconvenience of creating space in your diary and the associated cost worthwhile. Other Nexia members will appreciate your efforts to meet them. Long trips for short meetings are often rewarded with a deep and solid working relationship.
The success, increase in referral activity and growth of our network, Nexia International, has mostly come from the business relationships and friendships built over years, during our conferences and events. This is not a failure to recognise that technology has helped us break huge communication barriers and improved much of what we do. I have been closely involved with networks and associations for almost ten years; not long when compared to others, but long enough to gain a clear understanding of the importance of networking. Our members so much prefer to do business with those they trust. This trust is best developed by personal interaction which, in turn usually blossoms into friendship - the optimum outcome.
So let me go back to my first question, but answer it yourself. Just think for a moment about your business goals. Are you trying to communicate time-sensitive news or trying to solve a problem ‘ASAP’? If so, the answer is possibly to ‘use your technology and digital communication tools’; alternatively do you want to build a long-term business relationship, encourage collaboration, innovation and increase referrals? If so, book a flight and network!
Chief Executive Officer
Nexia International | 71 Kingsway, London, WC2B 6ST, United Kingdom
T +44 (0) 20 7436 1114
Many organisations, including Nexia International, are asking themselves the same question: how do we maximise digital communications...