Face-to-face communication is undervalued in our always-on mobile lifestyles. What app helps us connect better? Our face. It’s that simple.
Back in 2014, Buffer held a Twitter chat about company culture. Company culture is still a timely topic — especially with regard to connection. How do you create, cultivate, and curate that culture? What if you’re a remote worker or a work alone?
“What are some great apps to keep team members connected?”
We like apps to do stuff for us. Hey, I’m not against a coffee pot going off on its own at 5:15 a.m., ready for me when I finally surrender to the snooze, but some things just cannot be done with technology alone.
“Besides Twitter and email? Your face. We do lunches (at work) and it’s really important to our bonding.”
We Communicate With Our Face
I recently wrote about how a continual conversation around a hashtag can keep the conversation going and give you opportunities to deepen your relationship but there’s nothing like face-to-face meetings.
We communicate in our faces, subconsciously. Emotions like doubt, fear, surprise, happiness, irritation, and anger are easily recognizable. I love to watch people’s faces as they talk to each other. Watching someone else watch someone talk can tell you if they believe them or not. Even from a distance, you can watch a couple and decipher if they’re arguing or bonding.
Up to 70% of communication is in body language. Wait, what? Yes. This is why in-person conversation is ideal.
If you can’t meet in person, use video chatting instead. Skype, Facetime, and Google Hangouts all allow for a more natural interaction to take place. In fact, a group of ladies I originally met on Twitter meet once a month (like a virtual meetup) on a Google Hangout. Same Bat Time, Same Bat Channel.
Meeting clients online is great, too. But eventually, taking them out to lunch helps. We make so many decisions, warranted or not, based on seeing someone’s face.
“These studies have shown not just correlations, but causal evidence that facial appearances influence voting, economic exchanges, and legal judgments. People tend to draw inferences about personality characteristics, above and beyond what we might assume based on things like gender, ethnicity, or expression. Social attributions from faces alone tend to be constructed from how common facial features are within a culture, cross-cultural norms (e.g., inferences on masculinity/femininity), and idiosyncrasies like resemblance to friends, colleagues, loved ones, and, importantly, ourselves.” James Hamblin ~ The Atlantic “The Introverted Face”
Have you heard the expression, “Put your best face forward?” It exists because a lot of us struggle with this. Our resting face, for example, may not show our inner cheerleader. We put our work hat on, concentrate, and are serious. Yet, people will accuse us of being angry, irritated, sad, or unsociable.
Those of us who struggle with “resting face” issues have to work on our active listening skills. The truth is, sometimes people are boring; though we try to look interested, our face betrays us. Deception is told by the face. Often sarcasm is hard to pickup on unless you see the smirk develop in the corners of their mouth.
Make Time for Face-To-Face
In the article “The Dunbar Number, From the Guru of Social Networks,” Drake Bennett mentions that Robin Dunbar’s research indicates the average friendship can survive 6-12 months without face-to-face contact. That’s not very long.
The bottom line is emails, project management apps, social networks and the like are all great to set up meetings, create deadlines, or serve as touch points, but nothing replaces in-person gatherings.
Though technology can bring us together, face time is the deciding factor on whether the relationship deepens or dies.
What do you think?
Can you keep a relationship alive with text-only communication?