By Daniel Hunter

Communications technology in 2013 continues to advance, affecting the way we work, shop, consume and interact. With the meteoric rise of social network sites and the ability to contact anyone in the world at the touch of a button, the need for face-to-face meetings seems to be diminishing; however new research from De Vere Hotels suggests that the ‘digital revolution’ could potentially be bad for business.

Video calls, conference calls, emails and social networks may provide a quick but impersonal avenue for people to interact, but the study from De Vere Hotels has revealed that the British believe, meeting face-to-face is still the most effective way to build bonds with business associates and close deals.
Behavioural psychologist Dr Peter Collett says that as much as 90% of what we communicate is through non-verbal gestures and body language.

“Meeting in person means that we engage all of our senses, which gives us a much deeper impression of another person," he said.

"All forms of communication, including Emails, texts, tweets and phone calls, are open to misinterpretation, but because face-to-face interaction provides such a wealth of information, it’s much more likely to lead to mutual understanding.”

De Vere Hotels has found that a ‘back to basics’ approach and traditional meetings can increase productivity and profit. Eight out of ten people agreed that they were more likely to do business with someone they have met face-to-face than by email or phone.

70% of Brits felt they established a better rapport with work associates when meeting face-to-face and 60% felt more engaged in the conversation. Women were more likely to make an effort to be presentable for a face-to-face engagement (61%), whereas men felt they would be more attentive than if they were in a conference call (59%). A quarter of people questioned said they would be more prepared and act more professionally.

“This research has shown that despite modern technology, people in business still feel that there’s a lot of value in face-to-face interactions," Dr Peter Collett commented.

"These days it’s easy to communicate electronically, and from anywhere in the globe these days, but this cannot replace the innate need that people have for face-to-face contact. When you can look someone in the eye, you’re able to form stronger bonds. This creates greater trust, which has an enormous and beneficial impact business decisions.”

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