6 Benefits of Face-to-Face Communication
By Indeed Editorial Team
Updated March 14, 2022 | Published July 21, 2021
Updated March 14, 2022
Published July 21, 2021
Effective communication between employees is vital in the workplace. Some professionals may prefer to speak with colleagues face-to-face so they can personally connect with them. Face-to-face communication has several benefits, including improved problem-solving and closer professional bonds.
In this article, we discuss the definition and advantages of face-to-face communication and provide tips to help you improve your communication skills.
What is face-to-face communication?
Face-to-face communication is an interaction between two or more people who can physically see one another. In the modern workplace, it can occur in person or via video chat. Employees use face-to-face encounters—including vital nonverbal cues—to build meaningful relationships with their coworkers.
6 benefits of face-to-face communication
Although advancements in technology have made it easier to communicate from long distances, there are still advantages to meeting colleagues face-to-face. If in-person meetings aren't possible—especially with remote employees, for example—it can be beneficial to use the camera option to show your face during conference calls.
Here are the positive attributes of face-to-face encounters in the workplace:
1. Establishes trust
Trust is an important element of a workplace relationship. Communicating face-to-face can show your colleague that you have their best interests in mind. They can observe your body language to determine you're being transparent, which can increase your credibility as an employee.
They can also gain a glimpse into your personality. Face-to-face interactions can allow you to invoke sincerity in your words and practice actions that affirm what you've spoken. The result is a sense of trust between you and fellow members of your team.
2. Allows for easier persuasion
Face-to-face communication can also make it easier to persuade your colleagues. Instead of relying on an email to express your point of view, you can engage them in person, using direct eye contact to show your commitment to your work.
The receivers of your convincing may feel more compelled to listen if they can hear your voice and watch your body language at the same time. The connection between you and your coworker might be deeper, enabling you to convince them to make a decision in your favor.
Example: Business-to-business (B2B) professionals often use persuasive tactics in person to reach agreements. Before making a sales pitch, they can meet the potential buyers and officially introduce themselves. The buyers can connect the person standing in front of them or in a video call with the person they may have spoken to over the phone or messaged through email. Now the pitch has become more memorable.
3. Boosts active participation
Employees may feel more inclined to engage in workplace meetings if they can see the faces of their teammates. Face-to-face communication can build a camaraderie that may not be possible over email or faceless video conferences.
When you're in the same presence as your teammate, it may be easier for you to get to know them and stimulate productive conversations. The passion they show for a project might also inspire you to create more innovative ideas. Increased engagement levels can contribute to a higher quality of work, which can enable the organization to reach its goals.
4. Enhances conflict resolution
If there's a conflict in the workplace, then face-to-face communication may be the best technique to solve it. Your coworker's nonverbal cues can offer insight into how they truly feel about a situation. For instance, if you propose a solution that satisfies them, then you might see the relaxing of their shoulders and arms, showing that they're no longer defensive about their positions.
When they express their perspectives, their voices can indicate their emotions as well. For example, a low voice might show worry, while a louder voice might show anger. As a manager, communicating face-to-face can allow you to convey your expectations in a firm tone so your team understands how to conduct themselves in the future. It may be helpful to invite the conflicting parties in the same room or conference call to explain their viewpoints.
5. Provides clarity to conversations
Meeting with your colleagues face-to-face can allow you to share your messages clearly in the way you intend. Compared to face-to-face communication, electronic messaging can make it easier for a coworker to misconstrue what you meant.
For example, if you attach an exclamation point at the end of your sentence in an email, the receiver might believe you're angry with them when, in reality, you were simply conveying the urgency of the task. If you can see your colleague's face, they can use your tone and body language to assign meaning to your words, avoiding misinformation. Also, if there's confusion about something you discussed, you can clarify your points instantly.
6. Saves time during the workday
Face-to-face communication can also be quicker than other methods of contact. For example, if you send a question to a colleague over email, you have to wait for them to respond, and the conversation can take longer if you have follow-up questions.
However, with face-to-face communication, you can deliver your messages and receive a response almost immediately. Since your colleague is in your presence, you can take advantage of their availability and collect the information you need in one conversation.
How to improve face-to-face communication
If you're interested in strengthening your communication skills in person, consider following these tips:
Read nonverbal cues
Nonverbal communication can illustrate your message just as effectively as verbal communication. When you're speaking to a coworker face-to-face, it's important your body language matches the words coming out of your mouth.
Be mindful of your stance and posture when delivering your messages.
Direct eye contact and nodding your head can show you're actively listening.
Your mannerisms with your hands and arms can emphasize a part of your message or further illustrate your meaning.
Example: You’ve decided that you want to negotiate a salary increase with your supervisor. You've rehearsed what you plan to say, and you've practiced angling your body to display your confidence. When you make your pitch, your words are loud and clear, and the eye contact and hand gestures align with the firmness of your delivery. The pitch effectively engages your supervisor because every part of your message is in sync.
Practice articulating your thoughts
While face-to-face communication offers you a chance to clarify your meaning immediately, it might be beneficial to practice how you verbalize your thoughts. Remember that your audience has a certain attention span, which means you may need to be concise so your words can make a lasting impact.
Prioritize the information you want your colleague to know first. Next, use specific language so they can understand the context of your message. If you're speaking with someone who has a different professional background, then consider using simple language to make comprehension easier.
Prioritize in-person or virtual meetings
One way to practice your face-to-face communication skills is to have several in-person or virtual meetings with your colleagues. Reserve time in your work schedule for you and your team to connect on a deeper level.
When attending a video conference, consider asking your audience to turn on their camera features and unmute their microphones to speak, instead of typing their thoughts. When meeting in the same room, it might be helpful to request your coworkers to gather in a circle or sit within the same vicinity to encourage physical interaction.
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