Understanding the True Value of Face-to-Face Meetings

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The way in which we communicate is undoubtedly changing, with many people jumping at the chance to stay home and conduct business through a digital screen. The autonomy this affords is desirable to many, especially following the Covid-19 pandemic, but it’s simply not an effective way to do business. Face to face meetings remain the best way to broker deals and build positive, long-lasting relationships, but in a world of pixelated communication, it seems many people are losing touch with the advantages of meeting in person for trade.

Pharaohs, kings, queens, and other influential world powers would routinely reserve large chunks of their time to broker trade deals with people who had travelled miles to see them. In turn, they would also travel to do business with each other. It was long-winded and costly, but these meetings built the foundations of some of the greatest trading empires, such as the Maritime Jade Route that was built in 2000 BCE and acted as the main trading route in Southeast Asia for more than 3,000 years. Another example includes the prosperous ancient Egyptians trading spices in the Red Sea with Arabia and the Land of Punt, and the large cities and temples built by the Chavin people following a booming llama wool, maize, and coca trade.

With the advancement of modern technology, it’s easier than ever to do business remotely. There’s no immediate need to travel to see trade partners because most of the routes have already been established, and the internet has made it so that you can conduct business without ever having to meet in person. Whilst this undeniably offers up an aspect of convenience, online and cellular communication is simply not as effective as in-person interactions.

In this article, we’re going to explore why face to face meetings are better for both business parties, detailing the benefits of making the effort to travel for trade, just like people have done since the dawn of time.

Why Face to Face Meetings are Better

In the world of business, time is money. Time is the most precious thing anyone has, so life has become centered around how to save time and make processes more streamlined so that people can fit more into a day. This is where the roots of online communication come from.

Paired with the challenges of the pandemic, trade and business have been permanently changed to become more remote. It’s now far more common and acceptable to hold business meetings over the phone via a video call, and even though the travel restrictions imposed by the pandemic have been lifted to allow for travel once more, many businesses are still opting to communicate with prospects online.

It’s convenient, fast, and inexpensive to do business this way, but just because you can conduct meetings through a digital screen doesn’t mean you should, as the following points iterate.

●     You can build stronger interpersonal relationships when you meet face to face

Modern technology has brought about a new phenomenon in which people can be anyone they want to be online. It’s almost comparable to acting in the sense that people can put on a façade behind the safety of a screen and a keyboard. This can make it hard to get to know people for who they really are, and as a result, online relationships tend to be weaker than those formed in person.

It’s thought that 85% of people think that if they have face-to-face meetings, they’re able to build stronger relationships with their prospects, and the relationships that are built tend to be more meaningful.

Aside from the fact humans are genetically engineered to be social creatures, a large part of this comes down to the fact that when you’re in a physical meeting with someone, they are the sole focus of your attention. You’re able to completely zone in on each other and gauge each other in a way that simply can’t be done online or over the phone.

●     Meeting face-to-face allows you to read body language and context clues to better your approach

No two humans are the same, and from a business point of view, this means you need to be able to engineer your pitch to uniquely work for every person you come into contact with. If you know someone on a personal level, you’ll know what they’ll respond positively to and what won’t work.

A lot of trade and business is done between people who don’t already have a personal connection, making it essential to read context clues. It’s more likely you can turn an in-person meeting around if it’s not going quite as planned because you can clearly see how receptive the other party is and how they react to specific dialogues and cues. Virtual meetings simply don’t offer the same opportunity to do this. Whilst you can read facial expressions to an extent, you can’t observe body language communication through video calls, and this could hinder your ability to build meaningful business relationships.

●     Long-lasting business relationships are built through in-person meetings

There are countless ways you can introduce yourself to someone and build a rapport with them, with the majority being online. From emails and video calls to instant messaging and social media posts, you can begin to engage with someone without even shaking their hand, but there’s only so far these relationships can go.

If you’re looking to develop a long-lasting business relationship, it’s imperative that you meet in person. In fact, 95% of people attribute face-to-face meetings to the development of successful, long-term business relationships. This could be because the dialogue in person is more free-flowing and natural, or it could be because you can showcase your personality as well as your professional attributes and develop a personal rapport at the same time as a strong professional one.

For example, it’s exceedingly common to close important business deals not in a fancy boardroom, but in a relaxed  bar after the initial meeting. Business and pleasure can and often do intertwine, but never in a virtual format. There’s something about going for a drink after an intense meeting that simply cannot be replicated virtually – namely because no one wants to sit and drink alone staring down a webcam.

Preparing for a Face to Face Meeting with Émigré

It’s clear that in-person meetings are key to building and maintaining successful business relationships, but you need to look the part. It might be acceptable to host a virtual meeting looking casual, but if you turn up to a face to face meeting looking anything less than your best, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Émigré specialises in preparing businesspeople for face to face meetings by ensuring they are wearing and using only the finest items. Their luxury range of travel accessories has been specifically designed to ensure you look polished and primed, whatever the use of formality of the occasion might be.

First impressions are everything, especially when it comes to face to face interaction. You must put your best foot forward to be in with a chance of securing prosperous deals and building strong relationships. Émigré are experts in helping you do just this by equipping you with premium, professional travel accessories for long term business success.

Browse their range of premium travel accessories and discover what you need to look like a leader and impress when you’re seeking to secure deals in face-to-face meetings. 

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