Conference calling is a useful resource for managers who need to communicate with far-flung teams and stakeholders. However, any good leader knows that some conversations need to happen face-to-face.
When You’re Sharing News About A Big Change
Some conversations will always be from an emotional perspective first, and you’ll need to gauge someone’s response based on their body language.
“When you need to see sincerity, disappointment, commitment—those things only come across with body language,” explains Dianna Booher. She’s an executive communications expert and author of Communicate Like a Leader.
Body language is especially important when you’re discussing sensitive information with someone for the first time.
Imagine the following scenario: You lead a team in Atlanta. You have a colleague in Pittsburgh—let’s call her Shauna—who you think would be a perfect fit.
You need Shauna to join your team, and you want to pitch her right away.
But you shouldn’t do it just yet, because you don’t know how she’s going to react. She might be excited to move. Or she might be against the idea.
If you can see her body language, you’ll be able to gauge those reactions and make your recruiting pitch accordingly.
When You’re Selling A Big Idea
The best way to sell someone on relocating—or any big decision—is to meet face-to-face.
Why will salespeople fly across the country for a two-hour meeting? Not just so they can communicate easier. It’s also because they know the act of traveling so far flatters their prospect.
Sure, they’ll be able to better understand any hesitation their prospect has, since they can see their body language. But the act of traveling for a face-to-face meeting shows commitment that a phone call simply won’t.
When You’re Discussing Sensitive Business Topics
When you’re speaking on the phone, you can never be sure whether someone is recording you. It seems farfetched—and is illegal in some states—but it’s a risk worth considering.
If you’re recorded talking about a sensitive business issue, any snippet of that conversation could be pulled out of context and used against you. Someone might record a call for honest reasons, only to have that recording discovered and used in a lawsuit.
Meeting face-to-face gives you the freedom to speak without the fear that your exact word-for-word statements will be used against you. And it gives your employees or colleagues that same freedom.
The Decision Tiebreaker: How Would You Feel?
Before you plan a discussion about an important topic, think about how you would feel if you got that information on the phone rather than face-to-face. If you wouldn’t feel comfortable hearing it over the phone, you shouldn’t give it to your colleague that way.
Even if an important conversation doesn’t end with the result you wanted, your team will appreciate your thoughtfulness and consideration.