Stay Connected: In a Networked World, We Need Networked Thinking

Have you ever felt alone in a crowd? You might have experienced a sense of isolation as you get numerous bouquets and cakes and wishes on your birthday on social media, yet no phone calls to wish you a Happy Birthday; as your award-winning wildlife photography series gathers thousands of likes on social media; still, no one rings your doorbell to congratulate.

That brief moment of self-doubt before answering a text message with an emoticon? Well, you are not the only one!

By 2039, the world is expected to look and feel very different. Data will be king. Many advanced countries are already witnessing more and more citizens fighting back and wanting to be data refuseniks in order to reduce their electronic footprints. They don’t want their identification data, tax returns, earnings and lifestyles online. Many are resorting to the old system of writing letters and delivering private messages by hand or through the postal system.

While the present cyber age brought people, earlier separated by geographies, closer to each other, it is taking away the human touch out of communications. Social media and text messaging, while being enablers in rapid transmission of information, fail to convey true feelings.

Quoting legendary investor Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha,“You will never see eye-to-eye if you never meet face-to-face.”. Emotional Intelligence or EQ continues to be a vital role in determining the levels of your personal and professional success.

Many big Corporates today have also realised the importance of face to face training sessions in addition to e-learning methods.

So what makes in-person communication important and vital ?

Leaves a lasting impression

Whether it is your clients or your co-workers, face-to-face interaction “puts a face to the voice” and helps in nurturing a strong bond of relationship and building a sense of a shared mission.

Forges enduring relationships

The Journal of Experimental Social Psychology states that face to face communications is 34 times more impactful than emails or phone calls because –

  • A smiling face and a good, firm, handshake emanate more positivity than an email, or phone call or social media message.
  • Generates a feeling of bonhomie and warmth that forges lasting relationships.
  • Expands your network and net-worth by enhancing possibilities of future successful interactions.

Read the body language

According to experts, body language encompasses more than 90% of all our communications.

Face to face communication –

  • Provides live feedback through the facial expressions, posture and voice tone of your listeners.
  • Gives you a better understanding of their thought processes and feelings.
  • Ensures your Executive Presence is felt !!

Breeds new ideas

In today’s VUCA World, businesses are constantly innovating to stay ahead. Part of their growth and success can be attributed to the technological disruptions resulting from the fast transmission of ideas over their command chain. Open office plans, which are a rage today, enable open communication and make you approachable for your people to come up and share their thoughts and ideas.

The importance of formal, documented corporate communication is undeniable. But as a corporate leader, consider the possibilities of discussing revolutionising product or service ideas with your team over a cup of coffee. Such thoughts and concepts may have the potential to consolidate into India’s own version of Google or Facebook in the future.

Fosters empathy, sensitivity and confidentiality

And, finally, face to face communication allows you to –

  • Discuss issues that need to be kept within a closed circle
  • Be more empathetic, when the need arises.
  • Handling delicate situations with sensitivity thereby gaining your team’s respect

If any of the above resonates with you, then we would encourage you to consider quick face-to-face communication surprises

  • Spend sometime on one-on-one conversations
  • Have a fun engagement activity, like a team lunch or dinner
  • Bring people together to celebrate a festival
  • A phone call to wish happy birthday instead of a Whatsapp message
  • A meeting to brainstorm ideas on a decision which you would have otherwise taken yourself

Use face to face communication to showcase your understanding, credibility, and the authenticity of your intent and thereby your leadership skill.