Text 1. (Pre-Intermediate)
How face-to-face communication helps at work
Today, most of your clients, colleagues and stakeholders are just a phone call or email away - technology has made communication that simple. However, while tools like telephones and computers score high on convenience and speed, they lack the warmth and emotion that face-to-face communication provides.
In my earlier features, I have highlighted the importance of telephone etiquette, making use of online networking and business chat etiquette. However, there are some occasions where you must revive the by-now forgotten art of face-to-face communication.
In the words of Helen Keller, 'We are all walking with a signboard on our forehead which reads - 'Appreciate me'.' It seems we have replaced the pat on the back with 'Thank you' and 'Good job' emails. But there is nothing that motivates someone more than seeing their boss walk up to them and appreciate them in front of everyone.
Go to your colleague's cabinet and congratulate them on the great report they sent or the presentation they made recently. I remember one of my ex-bosses who used to call our team members to his cabin just to say 'thanks' and pat our backs. The team immediately took a liking to him as most people expect a warning or feedback when the boss invites them to their cabin.
"It's difficult to build rapport over an email; I would feel much better if my boss appreciates me in person," says Ashok Krishnan, a CA with Nestle.
When you provide feedback over an email or a phone call, the receiver may have a completely different perception about its relevance. This effect is stronger when you are not communicating face-to-face. The reader or listener may think you are cold and indifferent and that's why you avoided meeting them in person to discuss the issue. A face-to-face meeting gives you the opportunity to put your point across, while being sensitive and diplomatic at the same time.
"I have noticed that colleagues often use emails to avoid confronting the real issue. If someone fails to meet their target, I would prefer they tell me in person than offer an explanation over email," says Vidhanshu Bansal, a director with Pixel Webtech.
There is a great risk of the message getting unclear when a responsibility gets delegated through email or a phone call. Don't be surprised if your team does not show a sense of ownership or complete tasks on time if you are not communicating face-to-face. Nonverbal communication, such as tone of voice, facial gestures and eye contact help individuals understand the importance of a task and the need to complete it on time.
"We rely on conference calls, video conferencing and online meetings but, from my experience, there's nothing more impactful than meeting the team in person," says Delhi-based Ashu Gosh, a manager with Aviar IT Consulting.
If you haven't provided the product or service the client expected, you are putting your relationship with the client at stake. An apology mail would not suffice in a sensitive issue like this. Go to the client's office, if possible, without them having to call you for an explanation, and reassure them that the confidence they demonstrated when they gave you business was not misplaced. Your client would be pleasantly surprised that you took the time to come and meet them, especially when things went wrong.
"I used to interact on almost a daily basis with a client over emails without ever figuring out whether the person was male or female. When a report I was supposed to send got delayed, I made a rude comment about a female colleague which offended the client who happened to be a lady herself," says Deepak M.L, a manager with Convergys.
Workplace conflicts are common in most organisations. The lack of interpersonal communication only worsens the situation. It's important to remember that 55 per cent of meaning in an interaction comes from facial and body language and 38 per cent comes from vocal inflection. Only seven per cent of an interaction's meaning is derived from the words themselves. So, trying to resolve a conflict over email or a phone call is often a bad idea.
"A colleague complained about another colleague and copied the senior management on the mail. I was surprised to see that mail translating into a flood of mails providing and seeking explanation. The person who sent the original mail was just one floor above the person who was at the receiving end. I had to sit down with both of them in person to resolve the conflict," says Kailasam R, a manager with Lufthansa Airlines.
Your communication style says a lot about you as a professional. In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'You are always under examination by people around you, awarding or denying you very high prizes when you least think of it.' So leave the comfort of your cubicle and build trustworthy relationships by communicating face to face.
http://www.rediff.com/getahead/2006/dec/13face.htmLook through the sentences and decide which of them are True (T) or False (F).
Telephone and computer make communication fatser, but they can`t provide the warmth and emotion of face-to-face communication.
There is nothing that motivates someone less than seeing their boss go and say “thank you” to them in front of everyone.
People like the boss who said “thank you” to everyone personally.
The reader or listener may think you don`t care and that's why you avoide meeting them in person to discuss the issue.
The team shares the task given by e-mail properly and they perform the work on time.
Nonverbal communication means nothing in business.
An apology mail is not enough in a situation when you failed to perform a task for the client.
It's necessary to remember that 55 per cent of meaning in a communication comes from facial and body language and 38 per cent comes from vocal inflection, and seven per cent - from the words themselves.
To resolve a conflict over email or a phone call is sometimes a very good idea.
Your style of communication says a lot about you as a specialist.
Choose the best answer to complete the following sentences.
_______ made the interaction very simple.
Face-to-face communication provides _______.
emotions and cordiality
In many situations _______ is the only means to interact.
Express yourself - _______ your colleague's cabinet and congratulate them on the successful report or the recent presentation.
When the boss appreciates his employees he tries to _______.
express personal “thanks”
A listener or a reader can_______ the information via Internet or telephone.
_______help individuals understand the importance of a task and the need to complete it on time.
The best way to apologize in business is to _______.
visit the client`s office
write an apologetic e-mail
_______ are ordinary in most organisations.
conflicts at work
People are always _______ of others without noticing it.
under careful inspection
Match the words from the left column with their definitions from the right.
client information or statements of opinion about something, such as a new product, that provide an idea of whether it is successful or liked
communication directly, meeting someone in the same place
face-to-face acting in a way that does not cause offence
email a good understanding of someone and an ability to communicate well with them
feedback to make whole or perfect
rapport a customer or someone who receives services
diplomatic to communicate with or react to
complete almost instantaneous transfer of text, voice, and/or video messages from one computer or device to another, typically (but not necessarily) over the internet
interact when someone looks at or considers something carefully in order to discover something
examination two-way process of reaching mutual understanding, in which participants not only exchange (encode-decode) information but also create and share meaning
Fill in the gaps using the words from the text.
(rapport, feedback, stake, client, apology, face-to-face, conference, indifferent, importance, appreciate)
She offended the customer and now is making an official (….).
Constant (….) is necessary for any team work.
They are working in close (….) to us.
My boss isnow learning to (….) my work.
I am avoiding (….) communication with him all day long, because I am afraid he is very angry with me.
You are putting at (….) the reputation of our company with this decision.
Our staff is not (….) to the problems of each other, we try to be helpful.
Our speakers are performing their reports at the annual (….) this evening.
Our company establishes good business relations with an each (….).
To express personal appreciation is of a great (….) for both an employee and the chief.
Underline the correct answer from the words in bold.
She works/is working here at the moment.
I am appreciating/appreciate your feedback.
John makes/is making an apology now.
I am making/make face-to-face communications not very often.
Jack is interacting/interacts with one of the most important clients in his cabinet, he is not available,sorry.
Mary understands/is understanding the importance of the task.
Our chief speaks/ is speaking on the phone right now, he can`t talk to you.
People constantly are examining/examine you without warning you.
My colleague calls/is calling on the phone to her sister to Scotland every day.
An email doesn`t express/isn`t expressing the whole meaning of the statement.