Social media is an invaluable tool in business. The platform gives entrepreneurs an opportunity to quickly reach a targeted or global audience from anywhere in the world. However emails, tweets and direct messages pale in comparison to face-to-face interaction when it comes to building strong and genuine relationships with clients, colleagues and investors.

There is a misconception that a strong social media following is all you need to succeed in business. Although this can be helpful, there is no substitute for a face to face conversation for making ideas take off.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, the very first lesson I learned in selling was to never sell over the phone or email. Not because it is easier to persuade someone to buy in person, but because face-to-face interactions are crucial to building trusting, authentic relationships.

From a practical perspective, face-to-face meetings offer a level of intimacy and immediacy that is impossible to mimic online. Emails can be ignored, but when you present an idea to a client in person, you will be able to garner feedback instantly, whether that feedback is verbal or readable in their body language.

Even in the golden age of social media, statistics routinely highlight how face-to-face interactions are the preferred method of communication for professionals. This is down to the fact that communication is so much more than just the words said. In fact, only 7% of the message taken from a conversation comes from the words themselves. Most of the meaning is communicated through facial expressions, inflexions and tone, while body language accounts for 90% of human connection. All these physical cues play a huge part in building healthy, trusting, professional relationships. Face to face communication can show your passion and your real character.

Additionally, face to face communication has been proven to be more productive, especially in terms of idea flow. Research shows that an in-person meeting can generate much more ideas than a virtual one.

Emails are quick and convenient, but a rebel entrepreneur will take the time to meet in person knowing that the authentic, meaningful relationships they build will fortify their business in the long-run.

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