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Get Face-to-Face to See Eye-to-Eye

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on April 11, 2011

Only 20 percent of a message’s impact actually comes from the content of words. Another 25 percent comes from the use of your voice, and a resounding 55 percent comes from the impression made by your physical presence and surroundings. There are many situations in which sending an e-mail, texting, or making a phone call are either acceptable or the only option available for communicating. However, when looking to do more than just an information exchange, make the investment to have a personal meeting.

A face-to-face meeting allows you to use all your senses and experience how the person responds to requests and demands that are made. It enables you to make a judgment about the character of the other person and read his or her body language through facial expressions, hand movements, office environment, breathing pattern, and handshake.

Consider the example of giving constructive feedback to an employee who is constantly forgetting to show up to important meetings. Since the worker is on another floor, you might be tempted to call or send an e-mail to find out why this keeps happening. However, both methods would most likely lead to misinterpretations.

By showing up in person and using visual cues, you’ll have a much better chance of solving the problem. Is the employee’s work station extremely messy? Does the worker just need a calendar? Maybe the individual is completely overloaded with work and you need to hire extra help. Talking in person makes almost every situation easier to interpret and will go a long way in helping you make better management decisions and become a more powerful leader.

Keld Jensen
Center of Negotiation at Copenhagen Business School

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