• It’s easy to forget in our digital world that the nature of human communication has always been social; the great moments of our lives have been shared in communities; and the “know who” of network has always been as important as the “know how”. Social media is a fantastic enhancement to these basic human relationships but it is no replacement. People the world over have been shaking hands to greet one another and seal the deal for over 2,500 years. Over 90% of communication is non-verbal, so body language, tone of voice, personal presentation and environment are all more important in terms of meaning and understanding than any words exchanged.

    Face to face communication is the most powerful communication tool in the entrepreneur’s armoury, and it’s a skill we risk under-exploiting in the digital age. 
    Entrepreneurs have networking hardwired into their DNA. They are natural connectors and natural sharers of ideas. The passion and desire that burns within them means they are on a constant quest to find someone who will listen to them talk about their fantastic business or share the pain of the ‘slings and arrows’ of commercial misfortune. Entrepreneurs are evangelists.

    Research shows that over 90% of marketers and business directors believe that face-to-face marketing is the most effective media channel to convert prospects. But it’s not just about closing the deal that gives face to face its power - relationships matter in business and all the evidence points to the same thing: face to face relationships last longer and have higher transactional values. Real world relationships are longer lasting, better quality and worth more than relationships forged elsewhere. But that’s obvious isn’t? Most of us would want to actually meet a potential partner from a dating site before we marry them.

    The digital revolution has created a whole new generation of entrepreneurs who have re-engineered broken business models, modernised out-dated working methods and rethought how we conduct some of the most fundamental aspects of our day to day lives. Disruption and thinking the unthinkable are the orders of the day. Social media and the virtual world have co-opted the language of relationship; “connection”, “like”, “share”, “recommend”, “community”, and they add enormously to the process of relationship building, but the real manifestation of relationship will always be in the real world. In a world of screens, face to face has never been more powerful.

    An extract from my chapter in the Great British Entrepreneur Awards Handbook. Available for free download from Amazon.