Tag Archives: Face to face

Fresh Coffee or Stale Email

By Jeff Bowman

The deeper we get into the technology age, the more enamored I am becoming with the 20 minute meeting over a fresh cup of coffee.

Email has, in large part replaced the telephone as the method most preferred by business people to contact clients and perform some after networking activities. It is quick, it is recorded and saved in your email file and can be done at any hour of the day. Sure, it sounds great, except for the fact that I have to wait for a response, possibly lose the response to my junk mail box, and almost certainly will have to go back and forth a couple of times in order to ensure the information is accurate and confirmed.

A meeting over coffee (or latte, or super juice or whatever your drink of choice) allows a relationship to advance through the various stages in a relaxing environment with no pressure. A nice spot away from the office with a face to face meeting is essential in breaking down barriers to communication that exist in other modes of contact.  I’m not advocating setting up an office on wheels in your local establishment, just a simple get together once or twice a week with clients, networking acquaintances, suppliers or even a co-worker.

A study conducted in 2005 , which was focused on examining the relationship between caffeine and ‘social’ processes, “found that coffee increases mental alertness, focus and concentration. This heightening of mental capacity allows people to open up, process and understand the ideas being discussed during a coffee meeting.” The study also went on to find that drinking coffee makes a person more open to new ideas and persuasion.

If I have a choice between spending 20 minutes or so face to face with a person, in a relaxed atmosphere, where they are more open to new ideas and have greater mental alertness, or speaking into a cell phone from my parked car with traffic and distractions all around me, or sending an e-mail to a person who may not give it any consideration or misunderstand my intentions in sending it, the choice is simple. Technology has certainly made it easier to reach people, but certainly not to communicate in the true sense of the word.

Relationships are built on trust and understanding.  When I am unable to read the body language and clearly identify the tone, the rhythm of speech and the volume of the voice, I am missing over 90% of the real communication. The call to action is to use one of those “other” tools to set up a coffee meeting today. No excuses! See the difference a little shared time can make.

I’ll have a double double and a dutchie!

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Face time and the whites of their eyes

By Stephen Rhodes

It’s easy to get caught up in the hurley burley of Web 2.0, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

When sitting at your desk,  looking for creative ways to invade the online world with your message, it’s sometimes easy to forget that these great tools can’t replace good old-fashion face time when it comes to generating business.

Wikepedia actually has a definition for Face time:

an interaction or contact between two or more people at the same time and physical location. Face time therefore occurs in real life and contrasts primarily with interaction or contact which occurs over distance (eg. via telephone) and/or electronically (eg. via email, instant messaging, e-commerce or some other computer communication.”

Wow, a little clinical, but a good reminder that it involves people in close proximity. Face time has in fact entered the vernacular because there are an increasing number of people who don’t do it, relying instead on some electronic engagement for business communications.

So, if you build your business around the Web, Twitter and Facebook and never actually see another human being, is it still a business? I guess that depends on your standard of measurement. I have never met anyone at Amazon or Chapters-Indigo but I buy lots of products. I buy on the strength of referrals from friends I do trust. “There’s a great book you should read….”

However,  I can’t imagine buying professional services without first meeting someone face to face.

For me, spinning messages online to 1100 followers is not  the same as pitching someone in person.  Did their eyes flicker, did they bite their lip, are their arms crossed? Did they look happy, sad, or  indifferent?

Maybe I’m old-fashioned but I still like to see the whites of their eyes.

What do you think?

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Sarcasm and other things face to face

White rhinoceros

Rhodes croppedBy Stephen Rhodes

I’ve discovered sarcasm doesn’t always play well in email, or on Twitter. It’s a waste of time in a text message. Duh!!!! works but it doesn’t really have much depth. To really express my true feelings I have to be face to face with someone and that seems to happen less and less these days.

The world is flying by and email, text messaging, status updates and tweets have replaced even the telephone as front line communication. Hardly anyone wants to pick up the telephone anymore. Are we afraid, or just so busy we don’t want to risk the pleasantries of social intercourse running longer than it takes to tweet?

I prefer telephone over email, although I admit email is often a time saver. Voice and inflection are important in conversation. Moods are easier to detect. Instructions are easier to follow and more certain.

Email is fast and leaves the impression that you are right on top of something, when in fact it’s often used as a delaying tactic. I know. I have done it.

You can’t convey passion in email like you can on a telephone or better yet , in person.

Twitter and Facebook are great communication tools but they can not replace facetime with a client. Face to face is the place where business is consumated. I have never worked with a client I haven’t met face to face. I can’t imagine I ever will until until I can project a hologram into their virtual office like Obi Wan Kenobi.

Body language is also part of the dance of commerce. Facial expressions, nervous ticks all help you better understand the needs wants and even anxieties of your client. And how will they understand your sarcasm if you can’t wink, wink, nudge, nudge?

Whatever rapport you build takes on a new dimension when you meet face to face. It’s the best way to build strong relationships with you clients.

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