Face-to-Face Communication in the Age of Social Distancing
Now, more than ever, people are realizing the importance of face-to-face communication and the value it brings to relationships.
Complex tasks are difficult to explain through written emails and text messages. Luckily, in traditional office settings, gathering your colleagues for a meeting can be relatively easy. However, as the number of people working remotely continues to climb, face-to-face communication is becoming more challenging and more important than ever.
Face-to-face communication helps teams effectively communicate simple and complex information, read non-verbal cues, and improve human relationships. Ideally, your face-to-face communication happens in person, but when you can’t physically gather, there are some steps you can take to improve your communication.
Meet via Video Chat
With video, it’s easier to read people’s body languages and whether or not you have their attention, and with audio, you can get a better sense of stress and sarcasm. Also, using video will keep you more accountable to staying focused on the conversation at hand, as well. At OG Media, we use video as much as we can, especially with new clients and clients working on web design and social media projects, because these projects often have more detailed specifications, which are nice to talk through versus trying to explain in an email. Video also allows us to put a face to a name. When we’re able to build these more personal relationships, we’re able to more easily discover the client’s actual needs and not just what they think they need.
Synchronous Versus Asynchronous Communication
Synchronous communication is when communication is happening at the same time, or in-sync, while asynchronous communication happens when responses are delayed. There are good reasons to use both synchronous and asynchronous communication, however, it’s important you and your clients have a common understanding of which mediums you’ll use for each. For example, email could be your asynchronous medium, where you aren’t expected to respond right away or in a particular timeframe. On the flip side, video chat could be your synchronous communication platform, where it is expected that you’re present when the video is on.
We’ve noticed that text messaging works really well as both an asynchronous communication platform for our clients. Whenever they need something, they can text us, and we will get back to them when we can, often immediately. If they ever need something right away they can simply give us a call. Email is probably the most clearly asynchronous style of communicating these days, as most people don’t respond immediately to their email.
By establishing guidelines on synchronous versus asynchronous communication, you’ll be able to set clear expectations on how and when you can be reached for different questions and issues that arise.
Use an App to Schedule Meetings
The most challenging part of synchronous video meetings is trying to get people available at the same time. Schedules change regularly, and it’s impossible to keep up with those changes, especially when you’re trying to coordinate with more than two people. Web apps, like Calendly, allow you to create a public-facing calendar reservation system where you can schedule meetings at others’ convenience without exchanging 22 emails to figure it out. With Calendly you set the length of your meetings and when you’re available, then the app syncs with your calendar, blocking off existing meetings, so clients can only see when you’re actually available in real time. From the app, clients can schedule meetings which send an automatic calendar invite to both you and the client, including adding different video chatting capabilities. (We sync with Google Calendar and Zoom to make scheduling with our clients super easy).
By turning on your camera, deciding on synchronous and asynchronous communication standards, and streamlining your meeting scheduling process, you can improve your face-to-face communication practices and create more meaningful relationships for you and your clients. What other remote face-to-face communication practices have helped you?