We live in an almost 100% digital world but face to face matters
So said Stephen Carter in a recent Sunday newspaper. The previous Chief Executive of Ofcom who has worked in advertising and telecoms and now runs Informa, the exhibition and publications group didn’t elaborate.
But he’s definitely right. And making it count can make all the difference.
In a noisy online market where everyone fights for attention nailing the face to face approach can be a gamechanger. It’s exactly how I started working with Virgin Money and Newcastle Building Society.
You know your business, why your team are the best and why you are the industry leaders. If you can share this face to face, seeing the whites of someone’s eyes, in your own unique way, you instantly stand yourself out from the crowds.
Here are 3 easy things to do that can make all the difference
Obvious right? But so crucial in building trust. University of Chicago and Harvard Business School did an experiment which found that negotiators who shook hands were more open, honest and reached better outcomes. Touch builds trust. When we touch our brains release the chemicals oxytocin and then dopameine in the brain’s reward centre. We get sent signals that it’s ok to trust this person and doing that feels good. As we all know trust in any business relationship is priceless and building it can take time. Until someone invents the virtual physical handshake, doing it face to face gives you a massive headstart.
2. Eye Contact
Clearly you can’t have a face to face meeting without it. How many times though have you met with someone who couldn’t maintain eye contact when they spoke, or at least not for more than a few seconds? If you struggle with this practice in more informal situations just chatting with friends. The more you do it the more comfortable it will feel.
The hardest but most important thing to do. And if like me you have a tendancy to speak, a lot, a skill that needs to be practised everyday. Because listening isn’t simply the act of not speaking. To make a face to face meeting count the listening needs to be active and focused. Shut out the background noise and truly listen to what is being said. When we do this we not only connect but really understand what our client wants. When you do then speak, try asking a question before launching in with your response. It’s an easy but powerful way to show you have been listening.
The famous writer Anonymous said
People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel
Don’t forget your face to face ‘thank you’. It so easy to do this at the end (or sometimes even at the start) of a face to face meeting, yet so often forgotten. A potential client has given up their time to meet you. They may have sat in rubbish traffic to get there, juggled their day or moved a meeting. “Thankyous”, however small, make us feel appreciated and have the power to change our day, and the outcome of our meeting.
So thankyou for reading this article. And go rock that face to face meeting today!