Communication is 55% visual. Most speakers would agree that face-to-face contact is the most beneficial form of communication. Even on the phone, you're losing the important non-verbals that add richness and meaning to the message. Yet, when it comes to workplace productivity, virtual may be more effective than on-site. Compared to office employees, tele-workers experience higher job satisfaction, less work-life conflict, fewer interruptions, and less stress from meetings and office politics, according to researchers from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee and Northwestern University.
The main benefit from the study was work-life balance. Virtual workers had more flexibility and as a result were more productive. Although there were concerns about getting accurate information in the absence of face-to-face communication, this was not the case.
It appears that constant communication is unnecessary. Working virtually enabled employees to focus and get their work completed.
So what are the implications for speakers? Are webinars or online learning methods more effective than face-to-face events? If the purpose is to convey data and facts, online learning can be very effective. But in many cases, it can never replace the relationship, connection, and learning that comes with face-to-face communication.
The role of the speaker is to model, inspire, make meaningful connections to the workplace, stimulate thinking, and facilitate community. High tech does not trump high touch; rather, they are a partnership. Technology is the servant of the speaker. What have you found to be most effective?