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  5. Teleconferencing Vs. Face to Face Vs. Instant Messa...

Look, we’re not advocating teleconferencing as the be all and end all. No, it doesn’t solve every single communication barrier out there, but it has it’s place between face to face, instant messaging & email, especially at a time in business where the majority of people are resorting to the lazy method (email / instant messaging).

Below, we’ll look at how each form of communication can be integrated in to your business in a way that is helpful and not a hindrance.

Email

Positives:

  • It’s in writing
  • Can be fact checked at a later date
  • Can include additional attachments (images, documents etc)

Negatives:

  • Not an instant form of two-way communication
  • You cannot be sure that recipient has read email
  • Hard to gauge tone

Conclusions:

Emails are great for when you need to send additional detail, including attachments and you need a communication form that allows information to be archived for later use and referencing.

However, email can become a hindrance and a confusing, time wasting form of communication if you are relay information that you need answers for, that may take more than a simple reply, which ends up being a hot potato that gets batted back and forth.

Furthermore, if this is communication with a new/potential client, tone of voice can easily be misconstrued if you are not use to the other parties style of writing.

Instant Messaging

Positives:

  • Instant form of communication if others are online
  • Able to include additional files
  • Easy to include others in conversation

Negatives:

  • Hard to gauge tone
  • Can be seen as non-professional
  • Other party needs to be using same Instant Messaging app

Conclusions:

Great for more informal discussions, especially with colleagues, but not so great if you are using IM for messaging back and forth between new or potential customers, for the same reason as email, the tone of voice can be lost in communication.

Face to Face

Positives:

  • Easiest way to communicate
  • Easily read body language and tone
  • A professional approach
  • Great for first meetings with new people

Negatives:

  • Takes tact to form the conversation and keep on track
  • Harder to document what has been agreed in discussions
  • Typically needs emails past face to face to conclude discussion and agree on outcomes
  • Time consuming if other party is not located locally
  • Travel is detrimental to peoples health and the environment
  • Travel disruptions, such as rail and air strikes can put conversations in jeopardy
  • Hard to converge if many parties involved

Conclusions:

Face to face, especially when it comes to conversations with new parties, in particular to those that you are wanting to win business from, this form of communication is the best to help build a relationship due to it being the easiest way to communicate and have good conversational flow.

Face to face conversations start to fall down when you expect more from them, so particular attention needs to be given to anything that’s agreed and ensure you make note of it and then distribute meeting notes to all involved.

Teleconferencing

Positives:

  • Cost effective versus travel for face to face
  • A better form of communication to understand tone, versus email & IM
  • Can bring in different parties from all over the globe easily
  • Recordings ensure that, unlike face to face, everyone can get a copy of the audio and make notes from, if required
  • A professional form of communication

Negatives:

  • Need to have a ‘leader’ of the conference call to take control
  • Have more productive conversation by setting an agenda
  • Teleconferencing can be expensive, ensure you research to find best match

Conclusions:

From the above, you can probably see that face to face, especially if there’s potential new business to be won, is the best form of communication, however, when the other parties may be located in numerous locations and not possible to get everyone together in a timely manner, teleconferencing can be the best bet to get the ball rolling.

Likewise, email should be use as more of a confirmation step, i.e., sending contracts, memos and notes, while Instant Messaging is best for more informal discussions, preferably for internal communication.

If you’re finding that your sales teams face to face travel costs (time, energy and pound sterling cost) are hitting your bottom line, it’s time to take the jump and start trialling conference calling and start gaining immediate benefits.

Take our quiz on our homepage and find the perfect conference call provider, based on your business needs.

Written by Benjamin Willis