More on Video vs Face to Face meetings

I am blogging today about face to face communication and wanted to include part of an article from my book,"The Conflict Cure" about GENTLER listening. Make sure you see the Youtube video in my earlier post.

G-ive facial feedback
It is so easy to zone out as a listener, but when you do you can give a blank, open mouthed look that resembles the face of kid after five hours of cartoons you’re not winning friends and influencing people. Drool is not very appealing. You have to work your abs to have toned stomach muscles, and you have to work your face to have toned empathetic skills. Let your facial expressions show your emotional response to their message. They may show they are concerned or understand by furrowing your brow. If they are unhappy frown and lower your eyes. If they are mad close and flatten out your lip like a sealed envelope. Briefly matching their facial expressions not only shows your customers that you are listening, it creates the same chemicals in your brain that body language shifts are creating in theirs and you will actually feel what they are feeling and understand them more effectively

Body Language and Video Conferancing

I was asked today to consult with a company that does video conferencing and I sent a shout out to some colleagues that do them often. My friend Michael who lives in Paris sent me this short funny video that emphasizes the importance of handshakes.

Here is a recent article I wrote for my newsletter on the value of face to face communication.

Texting vs Face to Face Interaction
Since I opened my first bank account at the age of eleven, I have loved to go into my bank and make my deposits and withdrawals. I love the face-to-face interaction, I still do not use bank machines, I want a chance to share a smile not just my bank account number. For over 20 years, I knew all the cashiers’ at my bank by name and they knew mine. When I came in we would visit for a minute would ask me how my last trip was, and I would ask about their day and their family. Now that my bank has been bought and sold, a few times I know only know one teller by name and she always smiles and I smile back and we laugh about the fact that the two of us are always in a good mood. It makes my day.
I am a body language expert. Human interaction feeds us. It is sustenance. The smile, the eye contact of recognition, the light touch of hands across the counter, insures us we are seen, are known, that we exists. Each face-to-face interaction makes our lives rich. It also feeds the brain. If you have been reading my blogs or getting my newsletter, you know that I love neuroscience and often talk about the brain body connection. Recently I found a great article on the research on face-to-face interaction of Dr. Thomas Lewis at
Dr. Lewis discovered that the immediate response and clear facial feedback in interaction is crucial. In his still-face effect experiments he showed that if mothers maintain a still face and don’t show an immediate facial feedback response to their babies that the infants become immediately distressed. Even a small delay in the response in the feedback/interaction/responsiveness distressed the babies. The article went on to share that Dr. Lewis said that even as adults, we have the same neurochemistry. We need immediate facial feedback. So how does this affect our texting, twittering, face book world? Well the article went on to say that, “….no matter how much we practice communicating through text, the brain still finds it stressful… “It’s a problem because we do not get that immediate facial feedback. Of course, shy people find texting less stressful. (That would be introverts on the Myers Briggs personality inventory or Get it Rights and Get Alongs on the DiSC link here to my articles on that) Dr. Lewis said that in the brains of shy people a stranger’s face triggers a fear or anxiety response in the amygdale. As you have experienced reading 355 emails each day a strangers, text doesn’t cause fear. Maybe frustrations when you reach email 200 but not fear. Of course, you can always video chat where you get all those wonderful nonverbal cues, the facial expression and the voice/paralanguage, but he cautions it still can cause feedback/interaction AND you don’t get real time responsiveness. So what does that mean? Well something, you know I will always recommend. Get out of the care go into the bank and say Hi. It is a great way to feed your brain and not a bad way to feed your life.