Imagine you have a research project and you need to ask people to fill out a survey form. Would you send the survey via email or ask other people in person? You may probably think that it is faster, easier, and more convenient to send out an email to hundreds of people. However, according to a study, face-to-face requests are 34 times more effective than emailed ones. Vanessa Bohns, in writing for Harvard Business Review, reports that people are much more likely to agree to perform a requested task when they are asked in-person as opposed to over email.
The Art of Approaching
Many factors contribute to the common mindset that an email is equally effective to an in-person conversation. First, people are attuned to their trustworthiness of sending an email to ask others for a favor without anticipating how the recipients may view the action. However, an email asking people to click on a suspicious link is sketchy enough to garner less responses from recipients. Plus, an email can get lost in the sea of many other emails that a recipient receives in a day; therefore, it doesn’t signify the urgency of the situation and may end up being ignored by the recipient.
On the other hand, the study finds that nonverbal cues during a face-to-face interaction make all the difference in how people view the legitimacy of their requests. Indeed, putting effort in to approach other people and make conversation can display sincerity, legitimacy, and urgency of situation. Bohns writes this:
If your office runs on email and text-based communication, it’s worth considering whether you could be a more effective communicator by having conversations in person. It is often more convenient and comfortable to use text-based communication than to approach someone in-person, but if you overestimate the effectiveness of such media, you may regularly—and unknowingly—choose inferior means of influence.
You can view the original article here: https://hbr.org/2017/04/a-face-to-face-request-is-34-times-more-successful-than-an-email