When it comes to thinking about the way that business deals are conducted, I think we have lost our way a bit. It’s very easy to think that everything can be done on Skype or email or even telephone. Now I am not saying business can’t be done through these methods, but we need to think about it carefully.
93% of body language is not verbal yet the methods I mentioned above are all using technology where the other person is not next to you. Now yes you can see them through a video camera but it’s not the same thing.
Now a few weeks ago I saw an example that demonstrated this point perfectly. I was trying to fix a deal that was done over twelve months ago via email and phone – I was getting nowhere. I became frustrated because this client had the potential to help us build our business.
Then, as if some miracle had occurred, the CEO I was talking with said, “screw this, I am coming to Melbourne.” The next week he arrived, and we spent sixty minutes together talking through the issues on both sides.
Now that we were in the same room together he could see that I was a reasonable guy and wanted to make things work. What took us weeks to work out was now negotiated in one hour. We wrote it up on the whiteboard; I took a photo of it with my iPhone, and he was on his way with both of us very happy about the outcome we had reached.
NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF FACE-TO-FACE CONTACT!
Why did the outcome change face-to-face?
The reason I believe that the outcome changed when the CEO came and saw me face-to-face was because of body language. It’s very easy over the phone or email to come across the wrong way. It’s very easy to sound rude or like you don’t care about the other person’s goals.
When you do things face-to-face, it much easier to tell by the other persons body language what they are thinking, and whether you are in rapport with them. From the way they shake your hand, to their posture when they’re sitting down, there are so many clues.
How do I supercharge the results from a face-to-face meeting?
So if you want to supercharge your business results then not only should you consider doing bigger deals face-to-face but you should also try a few things.
Firstly, take the other person out for lunch. When you eat with another person, you get to build a greater level of rapport. People love eating out with me because they get to learn about my quirky sense of health and it always seems to be a great bonding experience.
Secondly, spend the first part of your meeting talking about where the other person is from and their culture. Knowing about where someone is from helps you with the way that you communicate with them. When it’s your time to share where you’re from, don’t hold back; let them into your world.
Thirdly, watch the way you dress. I have been to many first time meetings where there is someone present who is letting the way they dress alter their results. It’s not rocket science, but it does require you to think a bit.
For example, if you’re meeting a person who is a computer programmer then a suit and tie is probably not going to be appropriate.
A note on preparation
A great thing to do when you have a face-to-face meeting is to come across as prepared. This can be something as simple as having a room booked, setting a simple agenda, outlining what you want to get out of the meeting, and having some sort of structure.
Don’t go over the top, just be cool – show you care.