The Power of Proximity: Influencing in the Era of Social Distancing

Research conducted by MIT’s Human Dynamics Lab has found that 80 percent of our ability to influence someone else occurs during face-to-face interactions and that physical requests are 34 times more effective than those sent by email. The ability to read one another’s social signals, including facial expressions, body movements, and gestures, has become difficult due to social distancing measures. Trust can be built more effectively through face-to-face interactions and it can also be challenging to encourage or discourage certain behaviors in a virtual environment. It’s important to share stories that reinforce the expected norms, talk openly about successes and failures, and more actively provide feedback at the individual level. Energy also is emitted through face-to-face interactions that are critical to ensuring creativity and generative thinking. This can be a problem through virtual devices, so being intentional in creating shared experiences that encourage excitement, finding ways to have celebrations, and creating ways to spark competition for virtual rewards all are important ways to keep those involved engaged.


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Post By Ken Shafton (2,372 Posts)