Are you using the right medium?

Are you using the right medium?

IN THIS fast-paced world, there is seldom time for face-to-face meetings. You are just as likely to conduct personal and business negotiations by email, social media or some other digital medium as you are in person.

How does this impact your powers of persuasion? 

An intriguing question, we have to compare the persuasive power of online communication with face-to-face meetings.

A study in 2003 had a group of students where selected to discuss the introduction of new exams.

The group was split up into same-sex couples. unbeknowing to the subjects, each pair included an accomplice of the ‘experimenters’ whose role was provide arguments in favour of the idea. HALF the discussions took place in an online chat room, the other face-to-face.

While overall men rated the proposals similarly whether they participated in the online chat or face-to-face sessions, women in face-to-face sessions rated them more highly than those who only took part online.

It is suggested this is because groups of women tend to form communal bonds and reach agreement. Electronic communication disrupts the exchange of social cues women use to establish a communal bond and is therefore less conductive to persuasion.

On the other hand, groups of men typically try to establish their competence and independence, that can lead to competitive encounters. When two men who have not met before debate a point, online interaction is about as effective and persuasive as face-to-face.

But if they have met and had a competitive exchange, subsequent face-to-face meetings are less productive, whereas online exchanges fare far better. So although online communication can prevent women “connecting”, it can help men suppress competitive urges that hamper persuasion .

So, if you are a woman and want to persuade other women you’d be better off meeting face-to-face, whereas men are less confrontational if contacted by email.

The research also found that people are also better at persuading members of their own sex, who they tend to have more in common with.


I’d like to hear from you, what successes have you had with the different medum available to us all today in personal or business?



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