Sending an email to a contact or prospective client may be an easy way to tick off a task, but unsurprisingly, it’s not very effective if you actually want a response.
According to research performed by Vanessa K. Bohns and Mahdi Roganizad of Western University, it would take asking six people face-to-face to achieve the same effectiveness of a 200-person strong email blast. Do they seem like great odds to you?
The researchers gathered groups of people to ask (via email and face-to-face) that they complete a survey. They found that “people tend to overestimate the power of their persuasiveness via text-based communication”, which, if you’re honest, is probably what you do daily too.
It’s time you quit pressing “compose” and start getting to know people IRL. Here are a few situations when asking face-to-face is a better option than an email.
When trying to set up a meeting with a superior
Sure, they’re busy and an email seems like the least invasive way to let them know you’re ready for a chat, but consider how you feel about that extra email that could’ve just been a two-second conversation: frustrating, isn’t it?
Just knock on the office door/cubicle wall of your boss and check whether they’re able to be bothered, then simply ask if they’d be up for a chat at their convenience. They’re much more likely to take it on as a task and also to take you that much more seriously – which is great news if that meeting is you asking for a pay rise.
When pitching your business idea or product
This is the most important situation in which face-to-face will be your key to success. It’s in the makeup of a pitch meeting that you’re face-to-face, so don’t waste time on email. Give a concise, enticing outline on email, with the end game of asking for a face-to-face meeting. And when you follow up, don’t follow up on the idea – follow up on the premise of meeting them in person.
Anytime feedback is involved
If you’re about to give feedback to a staff member, there are very few instances in which giving that feedback would be best achieved electronically.
The thing about in-person contact is it allows for those all-important visual cues – if what you’re saying is clearly not being taken well by your colleague, you should be able to tell right away and change your tact. An email or text-based communication is seen as harsh for a reason – there’s no way of knowing exactly how your words will be taken.