The benefits of face to face contact

There are so many ways to communicate now that we have a choice of how to connect with different people. You can still write a letter, (and oh how nice it is sometimes to receive hand written personal post), send an e-mail or use a telephone.

We now also have the ability to speak face to face with a video call through computers, laptops, tablets and phones.

With a video call, you can catch the non-verbal cues of communication that can be missed through a letter or a telephone call. We can see body language, the emotions portrayed on the face, an infectious smile or a sadness that needs soothing.

According to Professor Albert Mehrabian’s work on communication,

7% of the message pertaining to feelings and attitudes is in the words that are spoken.
38% of message pertaining to feelings and attitudes is paralinguistic (the way that the words are said).
55% of message pertaining to feelings and attitudes is in facial expression.
This means that if we communicate by letter or e-mail, we lose 93% of the message being portrayed – who hasn’t re-written that e-mail umpteen times because you don’t want them to misinterpret your meaning… With talk on the telephone we get more of the message, but still lose 55% of the message – the part that is portrayed through facial expression.

The benefits of a video call also mean we can join in. We can see little Sally playing the recorder, help Christopher with his crazy maths problem, see the scarf Nan knitted, and share the moment. Face to face communication helps people feel more included in the lives of others, and in turn enhances their own.

Visual Main Revised2

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