We just finished up a big sales meeting in which we brought together our entire team from the bedding group to get ready for the ISPA Expo coming up at the end of the month. Normally when you get through one of those types of meetings, you leave with a few
takeaways that can really make an impact and for me, this time, it had nothing to do with the type of information that was shared, but HOW that information was shared.
As with any group, we had a few topics to address that we knew were going to be emotionally charged. Beforehand, e-mails had been sent out on these topics, conference calls took place prior to our get-together, and nothing was resolved. You bring people together where they are sitting across the table from one another and it is amazing what you can get done. It changes everything. There is no hiding behind the phone or the glass on your computer when you hit “send.” You are in the moment and visible to your group and exposed in every way, so you just communicate differently.
We obviously can’t always be in a room with everyone we need to conduct business with, so the phone and computer are necessary tools, but consider that face-to-face time for a minute. There really is nothing like it when it comes to delivering a message. Here are five reasons why you should always cover the big stuff in person:
- People are more honest with you when it comes to giving an opinion because it is just harder to hide your true feelings when you are in the room with someone. That non-verbal will get you every time.
- There are fewer distractions, so you can tell if you have the other person’s undivided attention.
- Staying silent is much more uncomfortable in person, so you will likely get more from your audience.
- Conflict resolution is better because you can’t avoid the tough issues very easily.
- You are more interested in a civil discussion and a resolution that will end up in a win-win result. If you are communicating long distance, it is less personal and much easier to detach yourself from the other person’s perspective.
It used to be that we had to figure out when it was proper to communicate by phone, letter, or in person. Now you have to decide when to use a text, Skype (video or audio only), LinkedIn, Facebook, Facetime, e-mail, or some other avenue. The right message delivered the wrong way can be disastrous. How would you like to be fired on Facebook? Here is the one thing I know: you can’t go wrong if you are sitting in a room with someone. If you are going to have a tough conversation and you have the option to be in the room with him or her instead of on the phone, wait for that moment. The result will likely be much better, unless of course you are one of these politicians that feels the need to punctuate their opinion with their fist of fury.
So the next time you are trying to figure out if bringing the team together is worth the expense, just pull the trigger and send out plane tickets. Mattress Firm does this every year with its annual leadership conference, and it was so impressive I wrote a blog about it.
Do you work for a company that tries to do everything via e-mail? Let us know how it works for you in the comments section.