If you need to get anything important done then you have to do it in person. Doing it face to face changes everything. It speeds things up, forces action and decisions and is just a more efficient way to move critical matters forward. It’s also adds a human element and is where you can leave your personal imprint (hopefully good) on the other person.
These days, however, due to the proliferation of emails, text messages, Facebook posts and tweets, many people have got too used trying to settle or deal with critical matters using non face to face means. This especially applies to email. Email works fine for passing on information or for less important matters but when things really count it just don’t work. How can you have an effective negotiation by email? Or deal with a problematic staff issue? Or close a major sale? Or get a key relationship back on track? You can’t. You have to actually speak to the other person.
The problem with emails is that it is difficult to write a great one – one that covers all the key information in an easy to digest and logical way with the required level of emotion and emphasis that gets your point across while at the same time recognising the needs of the other party. Too many emails are written with a one sided view and this often results in a choice of words and tone that is too aggressive, inflammatory or, at best, unconsidered. Even if this isn’t the intent it nevertheless creates a fertile environment for confusion and misinterpretation which is never helpful.
For these reasons it’s best to do any substantive business face to face. Occasionally you may have to do it by phone but this should only be if there is no immediate option for a face to face meeting. And only use email to record conversations that have taken place, share information or for simple, mechanical business matters.
For me it’s an efficiency measure more than anything. I know I can get a lot more done in a 30 minute meeting than via any other means. I also know that most people prefer to deal with a real live human being instead of by responding to words on a screen. Give it a go. All you have to do is stop typing and do it in person – it’s that simple…
Featured image by Oscar Ramos Orozco