Face-to-face interaction is no longer essential in business dealings. But with the loss of personal interaction, what else are we losing?
A recent study by Blue Jeans Network, a cloud-based video conferencing company, found that 91 percent of business professionals have never seen the people they regularly work with, whether they are employees, coworkers or customers.
Less face-to-face interaction means employees can get away with not paying attention during conference calls. When you can’t see what the people at the other end of the line are doing, they may be talking to colleges (72 percent admit to this distraction), scrolling through Facebook or Twitter (69 percent), or even taking a nap (6 percent).
How can you command attention across distance? “We hear about people’s issues with lack of face-to-face interaction all the time in our business,” said Jay O’Connor, Chief Marketing Officer at Blue Jeans Network. “We wanted to ask questions around what we bring, what is missed when we’re not face-to-face.”
Fifty-four percent of the approximately 400 business decision makers surveyed agree that video conferencing is the best alternative to face-to-face meetings. Twenty three percent of respondents see audio phone calls as the ideal alternative, and 14 percent prefer email. Only eight percent say that web conferencing is the best alternative.
Reasons why business professionals like to put a face to a name? In many cases, simply to avoid embarrassing situations – 40 percent of people report that they have mistaken someone’s gender before they’ve had a visual connection. Even more have misread tone or message via email or phone, at 60 percent. Ultimately, it is just bad business-- nearly three quarters of respondents believe that they had lost a deal due to lack of face-to-face interaction.