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2017

Reap the Value of Face-to-Face Communications

It’s fair to say that we all love our technology tools and the way they make communication easy. Email, text, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Skype, webinars and virtual conferences allow us to quickly reach many people with our ideas and information. And that’s great news when geography and/or time is a factor.

But let’s not forget the powerful impact of face-to-face conversations.

Meeting someone in person reveals important information that can only be achieved through face-to-face interaction. It allows you to pick up body language and gestures, and helps to confirm whether the person actually understands what you are saying. It gives you the opportunity to restate your message or reinforce key information and ideas, all of which helps you effectively communicate with them. It also provides an opportunity to show that you are listening.

Since the holiday season is just around the corner, it is a good time to consider how you can ramp up your face-to-face communications. Yes, people are busy, but the evidence is in – people like to see each other in person and share their experiences and ideas. We are social beings, after all.

You could start with a face-to-face activity that focuses on building and maintaining relationships with your internal community – your colleagues and staff.  Consider organizing a volunteer activity. Find a cause that gets everyone excited about working together to benefit your local community. The Ottawa Mission’s Group Volunteer program helps collaborate with teams to create a volunteer opportunity and so does Volunteer Ottawa. Volunteer activities can increase employee engagement, improve recruitment and retention of employees and helps grows your organization’s visibility in the community. 

How about volunteering your skills and expertise? Give a free presentation on what is happening in your market at an industry conference or annual general meeting. Consider holding it at your company’s reception area or board room between 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm. Offer light, non-alcoholic refreshments and keep the agenda simple. A working breakfast session could also be an option. You will be surprised how invitees will appreciate the opportunity to meet others and learn. 

Another face-to-face event that is being organized more often is the tried and true cinq a sept (5:00 to 7:00) at a local pub. Pick a day that is not normally a busy pub day, such as Monday or Tuesday. Ask one of your creative colleagues to craft an e-invitation that reflects a fun and a casual get-together. Show up early and greet all who attend. Again, keep the agenda simple, perhaps invite an industry speaker to say a few words. Let the conversations do the work. Most who attend will appreciate the opportunity to meet face-to-face and to network.

Face-to-face communication is important to all of us as individuals and as professionals. It has enormous value and impact. Don’t forget to log off from your devices from time-to-time and pursue more personal communications with your colleagues, clients and stakeholders. It helps establish and maintain relationships and makes our communications all the more meaningful.

Janet Weichel McKenzie

Janet is an Ottawa based strategic and organizational communications specialist at The Hillbrooke Group. She has more than 20 years of strategic communications experience in the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

Janet can be reached at 613-808-4642 or via email at jweichelmckenzie@hillbrooke.ca

Meeting someone in person reveals important information that can only be achieved through face-to-face interaction. It allows you to pick up body language and gestures, and helps to confirm whether the person actually understands what you are saying. It gives you the opportunity to restate your message or reinforce key information and ideas, all of which helps you effectively communicate with them. It also provides an opportunity to show that you are listening.