Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Play the Face Card

I've become a big believer in social media.  In fact, I love it!  Our business Knicava could never have positioned itself as it has without the incredible connectivity the social media world facilitates.  Our friend and social media mentor Mark Schaefer has even posted a great story about our success in this area.   Our total investment has been no more than a tutorial by Mark and a bit of time every day connecting to others through FacebookTwitter, Linked-In and our daily blog-reader.

That said, and with no disrespect to the social media world, allow me to now move to the real premise of this post.  NOTHING can replace the value of face-to-face meetings and communication.  Social media is great; its connectivity is endless.  E-mail allows for expedient written communication and the phone still serves as a valuable tool for personalizing contact between two people.  But face-to-face is where the deal gets done.

The challenge with electronic media is that they are one-dimensional; two if you are on the phone, and perhaps 2-1/2 on a video call.  Each missing dimension leaves a void to be filled in by the receiving party, which means what you intended to say may not be what the person on the other end "hears".   That comical tone running through your head as you typed may not match the angry tone your reader saw, despite the :) smiley face.  Even on the phone, the missing dimension of visual cues can mean the difference between closing a deal or walking away from it because you didn't see them blink.  

By personalizing a relationship through a face-to-face meeting, obstacles can be easily overcome and goals more readily accomplished.  From the initial handshake at introduction to eye contact, voice inflection, body language and the general warmth associated with human interaction a personal meeting helps create an environment of cooperation and one-mindedness, which can often be missed in electronic interactions.

So post and tweet away.  Build your base and initiate targeted relationships through social media and other electronic means.  But when the chips are on the table and it's time to close the deal, play the face card and increase  your chances of success.

For more detail on the effect of body language in business situations, read the linked blog by Martin Zwilling.

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