Why do many people prefer to hold conversations online? For some, the answer lies in control. They like the command they have on the time and manner of their responses. The wide variety of emojis and gifs are enough to emphasize the emotions in their message. They can even replace a proper reply altogether.
It also cuts back on travel expenses and the overall effort of personal interaction. Staying in touch through social media is easier, after all. You can update all your connections on important life events with a few clicks on your smartphone.
While modern technology is undoubtedly a gift to humanity, it can’t replace face-to-face conversations.
All that Body Language
Body language conveys half of what we try to express through words.
The emotions made transparent by facial expressions and gestures make in-person conversations more sincere. This is why meet-ups in a burger joint and discussions over coffee are more enjoyable. It’s not only the meal and the view you appreciate but the earnestness missing in digital communication. You’re better able to interpret people’s intentions this way, even while you’re shop-hopping across Singapore.
This is especially helpful in business and significant relationships, where miscommunication can be costly.
An employee offered a special task can relay one thing through words and another through body language. In this case, a manager can act accordingly and address the person’s hesitation or refusal. At the same time, parents can use tell-tale signs of lying like stammering and foot-tapping to call out their children.
Be Careful with Your Tone
The tone in which you deliver your message can alter its meaning.
Albert Mehrabian, a professor and psychologist, created the 7-38-55 rule for successful communication. The biggest cut of the pie goes to body language, followed by the tone of voice, and then the actual words used.
You can relax your body and use positive words, but a low-pitched, shaking voice can lead others to believe you’re angry. This is another reason why people opt for face-to-face meetings when dealing with crucial matters. It’s easy to hide your true emotions through e-mail and chat. Even video conferencing can have downsides due to audio latency.
Like body language, hearing another person’s pitch makes it easier to detect any underlying intention or emotion, which enables you to come up with better responses.
To Trust or Not to Trust
The online world is a tricky place to establish credibility and earn trust. The prevalence of identity theft alone makes it difficult to decide who and what to believe.
Face-to-face meetings establish the authenticity of a person or a team. They also enable both parties to form impressions based on looks. How a person presents himself or herself speaks volumes about their values and personality.
Dialogue during business meetings tends to be more erratic and fast-paced, too. While messaging apps have added features to make online conversations less confusing, it’s still easier to talk in person. Chances are, you’ll also tackle more and finish earlier.
Scheduling meet-ups more often promotes healthier relationships in business and social circles. You might find this shift in your engagement with other people challenging at first. Don’t worry; almost everybody’s a little awkward in person anyway.