I was recently talking to a client of ours about her experience of working with us when she mentioned that she had previously practised her speech in front of a computerised audience. The experience had been a novel one for her, but not one that she was willing to repeat before her AGM.
Practising any presentation out loud is essential. But practising in front of human beings is paramount. My experience of live performance has taught me that nothing can replicate the actual feelings that meeting and responding to another human gives you. Though you may be faced with the nerves that come initially with a boardroom or conference hall filled with avatars waiting for you to speak, these soon die away as your brain realises, IT’S NOT REAL. Every cough, interruption or interjection cannot have the same impact that it would in actual life as it’s a game.
Avatars can’t pick up on the subtly of our non- verbal communication or the somatic affect of what it feels like to stand in a room and actually forget what you are saying, or to tell a joke that makes people laugh and connect with you. Being with people in person means you can feel when you are building a relationship. This is made possible through trust which is an essential part of having or building rapport with another. I believe that it is only through this trust that we feel we can express ourselves creatively and move out of our comfort zones into new areas of self- discovery. This is not only an essential component for making successful personal relationships but building a long lasting business.
Recently Launch workplaces surveyed that ‘67% of senior executives and managers said their organization’s productivity would increase if superiors communicated face-to-face more often’
This cannot be replicated in the virtual world. A recent mental health study showed that there was an increase in the neural synchronisation of the brains between two partners facing each other, that the closeness of this proximity led to a greater collaboration of minds. I don’t think we can underestimate the importance of this in our lives.
I also realise that we have a lot thank technology for. It saves us time, money and energy. It’s easy and, in many ways has made a positive impact on our lives.
However, I feel strongly that in our efforts to work more creatively and efficiently the emphasis of our long-term goals could lie more in the quality of our relationships rather than the quantity of people we connect with online. Perhaps it is not about the number of people we try to meet but in the chosen few we make an effort to build a relationship with in person.
Written by Charlotte Lucas