Shirley's Articles / Business Writing|Communication Skills and Building Relationships|Email Essentials

Speak To People, Not Machines!

In this era of Facebook, Twitter and email, crucial face-to-face communication skills have been lost or put aside indefinitely. There has been a sharp decline in face-to-face communication in favour of instant contact overload. Because of this, people are losing vital opportunities to connect and network.

Technology is great, and I wouldn’t be without it. But face-to-face communication can give us some of the most enriching experiences. Human interaction keeps you alert and allows you to truly connect with another person, an asset that is completely lost in instant communication. Face-to-face communication is also the most effective form of networking that can contribute to your success. Here are 8 tips to help you with your face-to-face interactions today:

1. Initiate face-to-face communication.

Email is fast, but it can be easily misinterpreted, leading to sticky situations. More information is relayed with face-to-face communication. Especially if there is a chance of conflict, meet in person to diffuse negative feelings and enforce the understanding that we all have emotions and can be sensitive to issues. Meet in person to establish real connections.

2. Be aware of body language, facial expressions and eye contact.

Use these tools to your benefit. Visually convey interest, openness and attention. Be sure to watch the other person for visual subtleties, but be careful not to misinterpret.

3. Keep your eye on the goal.

Social chit-chat is good, but don’t forget why you wanted to initiate communication in the first place. Use face-to-face contact to help you clarify your message. It allows you to make sure that the message is understood and well received.

4. Make the conversation count.

Do not drift through topics. Pay attention to the conversation and the people involved. You want to be able to walk away remembering what was discussed and feeling like the interaction was successful.

5. Be real and sincere.

Be there in the present, not in your own head or, even worse, on your phone. Stay alert to speak with confidence and interest. Give the other speaker your full attention.

6. Be sensitive to the other person’s time.

Do not spend 20 minutes when you asked for 10, and don’t side step around issues. Staying present will allow you to communicate clearly and contribute to a successful conversation.

7. Be prepared.

Know what the topic of the conversation is before you start. If discussing ideas with a colleague or superior, know what you want the outcome of the conversation to be.

8. Face to face communication is collaboration.

Every communication is give and take. Take the initiative to start face-to-face communication and give the other person your full attention.

Face-to-face communication is the most complete, most powerful form of conversation. Do not avoid it, but embrace it and make it work for you. Do not pass up the opportunities that come from connecting with another person.

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* Credit line: © Shirley Taylor. Shirley is an international bestselling author. She has established herself as a leading authority in email and business writing skills. Her international bestseller Model Business Letters, Emails & Other Business Documents 7th edition sold over half a million copies worldwide and has been translated into 17 languages. Her book Email Essentials reached #2 in the USA for publishers Marshall Cavendish International. Find out more about Shirley at shirleytaylor.com.
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