Leadership 101: The Importance of In-Person Meetings

Dateline: October 2, 2015

Welcome to our Friday WRAP – one thought-provoking idea to think about over the weekend.

This week’s thought comes from a recent blog published at FastCompany.com titled “The Science of When You Need In-Person Communication,” by author Laura Vanderkam.  In her article, she suggests,

Human beings had little ability to communicate with those who weren’t physically close to them until the past century, and our brains don’t evolve as rapidly as technology. Fortunately, understanding the science of what happens when people interact in person helps us see what’s best done that way, and when virtual meetings are fine.

Among her suggestions is that the communication that takes place through body language, facial expressions, and other forms of non-verbal cues can only be received in person.  She writes,

Albert Mehrabian, a major figure in the study of non-verbal communication, introduced an equation about contradictory feedback in his 1971 book Silent Messages: “Total feeling = 7% verbal feeling + 38% vocal feeling + 55% facial feeling.” … A lot of this is done unconsciously. People’s pupils dilate when they are happy or excited, and constrict when they are sad. As you look into someone’s eyes, you absorb this emotional information and respond. This means face-to-face meetings are best when you feel someone is being too guarded, and you’d like to know the truth (e.g., a client isn’t really happy with your team, but doesn’t want to engage with the conversation). It’s harder to hide reality in person.

When do you need to have in-person meetings to insure the right conversation takes place? When will virtual meetings work well enough? 

That’s a WRAP!  Have a fantastic weekend!

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