When Face-to-Face Communication is Best

That lack of good old fashioned, face-to-face communication is leading to many interpersonal difficulties and miscommunications in today’s workplace and in our personal lives.

Etiquette Expert and owner of Impact Factory Utah, Ellen Reddick, shares five situations when face-to-face communication is best.

You may be thinking…Why improve my interpersonal skills when most businesses do 99% of communication by telephone, teleconferencing, videoconferencing, e-mail, and on rare occasions, snail mail. You see children and parents texting back and forth sitting right next to each other.

A popular way of thinking today…but, is it really the correct way? “Face-to-face communication remains the most powerful human interaction,” says Kathleen Begley, Ed.D., author of Face-to-Face Communication, Making Human Connections in a Technology-Driven World. “As wonderful as electronic devices are, they can never fully replace the intimacy and immediacy of people conversing in the same room and it has worked for millions of years.”

Learn to use your technology appropriately and make sure you are communicating face to face for the important conversations in your life. You may damage your reputation or truly hurt someone’s feeling if you do not take the time to graciously communicate in person.

Always communicate in person when delivering the following messages:

Bad News

Any news that impacts another in a negative way deserves to be delivered in person using good communications skills. We have heard of people being fired via e-mail, relationships ending or any number of things being said that should ever be conveyed except in person.


Always apologize in person. To be believed and your apology taken seriously, face to face is a must for apologizing. People need to see your face and your body language to know you are truly sorry.

Confidential Information

We all need to respect the privacy of others and putting something private out in cyberspace or in a voice mail is disrespectful and violates a person’s privacy.


Never, ever, criticize someone in email. For reasons which I have never fully grasped, any negative emotion is always amplified by communication through email. Sometimes you intend to be critical – someone has done something dumb, or said something silly, or emailed something ridiculous. Resist the urge to reply. Sometimes you don’t mean to be critical – you’re just making an observation, or engaging in debate, or adding facts to a discussion. But as soon as you sense that the recipient has taken your email as criticism, you must immediately switch media – a face-to-face meeting is best.

Conveying a complicated message

If you want success both personally and professionally communicate complicated information in person. People are much more apt to buy in to your message if you deliver it in person. You not only can watch and gauge their reaction and understanding you will enforce the importance of your message.

The reason a face to face message works better than any other type of communication is your are using all of your communicating skills in the delivery.

Your posture, gestures, facial expressions and eye contact reinforce your delivery and your believably factor.

Don’t reach for technology without understanding the power and proper delivery of your message. Always take into consideration other’s feelings and everyone’s reputation.

Ellen Reddick is the co-founder of Impact Factory Utah and Elite Business Communications, Inc. Salt Lake City based companies specializing in training, consulting and coaching in business professionalism and communications.

Ellen is a well know Executive and Corporate Consultant who works with executives and corporations to help identify and assess developmental opportunities for both organizations and individuals. Her unique, practical and powerful strategies make her easy to talk to and her vast corporate background helps her coach high-potential individuals and those requiring new skills to enhance their leadership competencies. Her business experience is varied and extensive including Director for Fairchild Telecommunications International and the national Quality & Process Improvement Director for Lucent Technologies.

She is also a noted author of several business books and articles. Her books include The Art of Professionalism in Our Lives and The Complete Job Search Handbook. She currently writes a monthly column for The Enterprise Newspaper and participates in several business blogs.

Ellen can be reached at: (801) 581-0269 or www.impactfactoryutah.com.

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