FACE To FACE: Cannot Be Replaced

“Formal face- to- face meetiface to face encountersngs will disappear” was and is the hue and cry of alleged futurists. The reality is that “they” were and are wrong! Meeting spaces are proliferating; convention centers are expanding. Post the economic downturn; hotels are experiencing sold out nights because of meetings and conferences. Corporate giants are still having in-person meetings in spite of the costs because nothing replaces the creativity and innovation that emerges from in-person brainstorming.

Business Travelers Go The Extra Mile to Connect Face to Face

The number of million mile frequent business travelers has increased. Sales executives know the importance of going the distance to meet the clients– face to face– handshake to handshake to set the tone of a business relationship.

Clients hire me to speak when they bring their people from around the country and globe to meet in -person. The execs want to build team spirit, foster cross- platform and cross-division communication and want their people to meet, connect and engage with one another. Why? Ultimately it’s good for the bottom line and for the top line.

Using technology to stay in contact in order to share facts, figures and data makes sense … after people have met. Skype, FaceTime and web-based conferences offer on opportunity to have visual presence that is beneficial. But it’s not the same as being in-person, in the same room. There are some who use technology to avoid human interaction, which may save time. But we lose out on the opportunity to build rapport, trust and connections, and the unexpected benefits that happen in the face -to face space.

Forward-thinking industry leaders are leading us back to in-person interactions. The Economist Intelligence Group spear-headed the research and compiling solutions so that we are prepared for what I call retro communication for those who skipped “Old School 101”.

A University Answers The: “It’s Not Facebook” Call

“The peril of getting to know classmates on the computer is that incoming undergraduates may forget how to do so in real life.” So New York University (NYU) offered an orientation seminar for incoming freshmen called “Facebook in the Flesh.” David Schacter, Assistant Dean, began, “It’s face to face . . . it’s social and it happens in the same space.” He even had to explain how to have face- to- face interactions (New Yorker, September 17, 2007). My book, Face To Face:How To Reclaim The Personal Touch in a Digital World, is the NYU seminar without the cost of college tuition.

A Demand For People Who Can Talk To Other People – Face to Face

Because companies are recognizing that creating face-to-face rapport and connection pays off, they’re getting results that build their bottom line. The next wave for recruiting, hiring and promoting will be the people who have both the face-to-face skills, as well as the required professional and technical experience.

Happiness Relates to In-Person Contact

Major university research across the country indicatesface to face cannot be replaced that our social relationships and interactions in our personal space keep us healthy, mentally alert and contribute to our longevity. Who would argue with that! There’s also a powerful, personal benefit from mastering face- to- face space. According to Daniel Gilbert, Harvard professor and author of Stumbling on Happiness, “Relationships with friends and family are the #1 factor that determines our happiness.” That can only be good!

Are you a Conversation Creator or Conversation Avoider?

Too many of us even avoid conversation with others we meet in every facet of our daily lives. Whether we’re standing in line at the supermarket or cleaners or waiting for the subway or for our children after their soccer practice or at our professional meetings and conferences, we often don’t start impromptu conversations. We’re  losing out because we don’t reach out. It may be that we fear face- to -face rejection. But, there are rewards for taking that risk in the form of new information, a new contact or a new friend.

Face To Face provides strategies for those impromptu conversations so that each of you can also benefit from the opportunities you encounter. My book also offers solutions to the digital dilemma so that we can hone our “old school” analog, in-person skills.

It’s NOT Either/Or, It’s Both/AND

Being facile when we’re face -to -face is valuable, not instead of online, digital communication, but in concert with it.


©2014SusanRoAne   Please contact Susan RoAne for permission to quote.

About Susan RoAne

Susan RoAne leads a double life as a sought-after professional keynote speaker and a bestselling author. Known as The Mingling Maven®, she gives diverse audiences the required tools, techniques and strategies they need to connect and communicate in today’s global business world. The San Francisco Chronicle says she has a “dynamite sense of humor.” To hire Susan to speak for your company, association or college, 1.415.461.3915