Communication apps make perfect sense when reaching out to close colleagues, family, and friends. They even work well in some customer service situations, making it easy to get a customers the help they want in a matter of seconds. But is virtual communication the best approach in every business encounter? Let’s examine the reason why face-to-face meetings work better for international business relationships.
1. Building Trust
In many cultures around the world, few things build trust like a face-to-face meeting. There, the way you’re dressed, your tone of voice, and the firmness of your handshake provide an authentic way for a person to get to know you and decide whether or not they trust you. In-person meetings work especially well when it comes to striking business deals with people who speak English as a second language. Call quality, your accent, or even certain vocabulary words can make it difficult for a business associate or client to understand you when communicating by email, chat, or Skype. When they’re in front of you, though, they can hear you clearly and ask you to clarify things they don’t understand. The caring way that you respond builds the trust needed for successful business relationships.
2. Selling Yourself
You might be have a great personality, but chances are, clients and business associates who have never met you in-person won’t know it. Things about yourself, like your exceptional friendliness, most likely won’t come across if you’ve only ever chatted or emailed a client. That’s why it’s important to have face-to-face meetings even if they’re with business associates and clients on the other side of the world. Meeting people in-person is a powerful way to show people who you are, what you can do to help them achieve their goals, and why they’re making a good decision getting into business with you.
3. Non-verbal Communication
Even when you know a business associate or client well, meeting them face-to-face occasionally helps you understand one another in ways that online communication methods cannot. Remember, it’s usually the things not said convey meaning. Take nonverbal cues, for example. During contract negotiations, a smile, a light touch on the hand, raised eyebrows, and hand under a chin are few of the numerous nonverbal cues that can help you and your client or business associate reach an agreement that benefits both parties.
4. Vibrant Interactions
People mimic one another’s behaviour. If your actions convey openness, chances are, the people you’re meeting with will project similar behaviour, as well, which can help you accomplish a lot in the long-run. For example, if you offer refreshments at meetings, instead of pointing to them, you might get up and lead your clients or business associates to the refreshments table and pour them a cup of coffee. Within a short while, you’ll notice things like your clients helping each other with the with the cream and sugar. Mimicking builds rapport quickly, which you need for business relationships to thrive.
Virtual communication works sometimes but lacks a personal connection. Meeting clients and business associates in person reduces miscommunications, giving you a chance to build trust and understanding.