Do you miss the good old days of in-person meetings and live events? The energy of the crowd, the buzz of networking, and the thrill of closing a deal with a firm handshake?

If so, you're not alone.

While we've all become Zoom aficionados over the last few years, there's no denying the magic of face-to-face interactions.

But why is that?

Turns out, meeting people in person isn't just powerful — it's essential for building empathy and cultivating positive relationships.

Let’s take a deep dive into the science of empathy and how in-person conversations can help you create stronger bonds with team members and customers.

The Science of Face-to-Face Interactions

The effectiveness of in-person meetings is backed by science. Research shows face-to-face interactions can lead to better decision-making and strategic thinking.

MIT's Human Dynamics Laboratory — which, we assure you, is more exciting than it sounds— spearheaded a fascinating study on team performance. They found that if you're yearning for quality interaction, in-person is the way to go. And here's a fun fact: about 35% of the improvement in a team's performance could be attributed to good old face-to-face yakking.

Eight out of ten executives say they prefer in-person meetings to the ones where you're wondering if your colleague's cat will jump on their keyboard again. Execs find face-to-face interactions help sharpen strategic thinking and aid in making tough calls.

Research also shows that requests made face-to-face are 34 times more likely to be effective than via email. Suddenly, office small talk doesn't seem so bad, does it?

These findings highlight the profound role face-to-face communication plays in building cooperative relationships. In-person conversations can also lead to unexpected connections and collaborations that wouldn't necessarily be possible in purely digital settings. So as tempting as it is to hide behind a screen, remember that a good old chinwag still holds a lot of power!

The Role of Empathy in Building Relationships

Empathy — the ability to understand someone else’s perspective and put yourself in their shoes — is the foundation of business relationships.

When you're empathetic, miscommunications become as rare as an unattended box of donuts in the breakroom, and partnerships get stronger.

This is where face-to-face interactions can really shine. Looking someone in the eye during a conversation, unexpected encounters in hallways, and the sheer joy of laughing together all elevate in-person events and meetings above virtual ones​​.

When your sales and marketing teams work on their empathy-building skills and have more in-person interactions, they can deepen connections, improve communication, and close more deals.

Empathy can also be a valuable tool for increasing productivity in meetings. If you’re looking for more effective communication and improved collaboration, understanding and respecting the feelings and perspectives of others is critical.

Here are some tips to help you flex your empathy muscles in meetings:

  • Don't dive straight into the agenda — start by addressing everyone else's needs. It's like warming up before a workout.
  • Let people vent. You'd be surprised how much a simple “I hear ya!” can do for team morale.
  • When challenging questions pop up, don't rush to defend yourself. Listen and acknowledge, then respond. Think of it as a friendly debate, not a gladiator match.

Building a culture of empathy takes time, but can result in far more productive and collaborative meetings with coworkers and customers.

Harnessing Empathy for Your Sales Strategy

Empathy is more than just a buzzword in sales and marketing. It’s a powerful asset for your teams. Becoming more empathetic helps you get inside your customers' heads, understand their needs, let them know you’re hearing them loud and clear.

When you meet customers face to face, you can pick up on subtle cues like body language and facial expressions, like a super spy. Plus, you get to share stories and build trust.

Speaking of making things personal — Showcase Workshop's Kiosk Mode is an excellent tool for connecting with customers in person and cultivating empathy. Kiosk Mode replaces the recitation of monotonous sales scripts by giving your customers the ability to touch, swipe, and interact with your content when you’re physically present. And we all know hands-on learning is the best kind!

With Kiosk Mode, your team can also respond to customers' reactions in real time. If a customer seems particularly interested in a certain feature of your product, you can immediately dive deeper into that feature or address concerns. Adapting your presentation on the fly, based on your customers' feedback, is a powerful way to demonstrate empathy.

From Transactions to Connections: Using Empathy to Improve Customer Relationships

Humanizing your customer relationships is like going from a generic "Dear Sir/Madam" email to a friendly "Hey, how's your day going?" It builds trust, understanding, and loyalty.

Creating meaningful connections requires a dash of patience, a sprinkle of commitment, and a whole lot of genuine desire to understand your customers. But the end result — increased trust, loyalty, and satisfaction — makes it all worth it.

Showcase Workshop's user-friendly tools make it a breeze for your sales and marketing teams to build empathy and forge stronger customer relationships during face-to-face interactions. Sign up for your free trial today, and watch the power of empathy unfold in your organization.