In this day and age, the art of face-to-face communication seems archaic since we can shoot off a text or tweet in the flick of a few fingers.
But it’s alive and well, particularly in the workplace where several different generations are present.
What does that have to do with anything, you ask?
Turns out that the older the person, the more they are going to want to talk to you face-to-face. That gives you plenty of opportunities to stand out in today’s “noisy” digital world.
Face-to-face communication takes on many forms like 1-on-1 meetings, team meetings, conferences, parties, live speeches, and impromptu connections (e.g. those people you meet while walking to the cafeteria).
No matter where or how, these tips apply whether giving or receiving:
Face-to-face communication deserves forethought
Every communication has a purpose. Spend time beforehand to gather your thoughts, establish the purpose and the desired outcome.
This is easier for some than others because extroverts (such as myself) like to process their thoughts verbally. It’s hard to plan a conversation, when I haven’t come to the concluding thought in my own head until the conversation. See my post on the differences between introverts and extroverts for tips to help in communication.
Face-to-face communication deserves full attention
Much like when we drive a car, if we allow our mobile tech to distract us, the likelihood of veering off course increases dramatically. Stay focused. Preparing and note-taking helps keep you on track.
Additionally, establish strong eye-contact. Resist the urge to multi-task. If you can’t bear to actually turn your phone off (and who can?), at least silence it. If you are expecting an urgent call, say that before the conversation starts so you don’t appear rude.
Face-to-face communication deserves full participation
Great conversations are like great tennis matches. One person serves up their thoughts and the other reciprocates – back and forth.
In order to successfully hit the ball over the net, though, you have to pay close attention to every detail of the communicator’s message.
Remember I said that only 7% of a message we receive is in the words we choose? The rest is in body language and tone of voice.
Pay attention to all of it!
Add to the dialog with relevant questions, stories, analogies, thoughts or facts. The key word being relevant, of course. Stick with the conversation lest you be seen as a Joy Thief.
Face-to-face communication deserves brevity
These days everyone has more information than they can handle so be respectful and keep your communication succinct. Building rapport with small talk can be helpful, but limit it to less than five minutes.
Ryan Jenkins suggests that you put a time limit on the conversation so you can both stay on point. If you’re prepared, you will communicate confidently and clearly. Your receiver will appreciate your focus and clarity.
Face-to-face communication deserves the real you
Just like all personable communication, consistency counts in how you show up.
Last week I wrote about social media allowing people to create online personal brands that allow others to gain context around who you are as a person.
Many people will search you online to size you up offline. Make sure your online brand or presence communicates who you truly are. If there is a discrepancy, the face-to-face communication could be clouded with doubt and superficiality and the attempt to connect is lost.
It’s a brave, new world out there! What are you doing to to make sure your old-world communication style is still top notch?
Leaving you with this from the lighter side: If you have an opinion about my life, raise your hand. Now put it over your mouth.