Thanks to technology, we seem to have unlimited communication, access to knowledge, and a following of people who “friend’ or “like” us on various social media platforms. Now that we can send an email, text, or Facebook message anytime we please, it can be tempting to think that having face-to-face communication isn’t really necessary anymore. It’s all so convenient, but are we missing something?

If you are born into a world where you apparently didn’t have to communicate in real time, and if you inherited a technology that provided a comfortable firewall that insulated you from personal rejection, are your social skills more likely to be handicapped? Could we learn to walk if we were handed a crutch at birth?

A close friendship is one that builds on trust and empathy. A relationship can start using text, email, or social media, but in order to be lasting and dependable it has to grow in person. And like learning to walk, we are going to be vulnerable, but that’s why we get so good at walking! Being vulnerable is a requirement in learning social skills. Personal interactions help both parties gain a level of trust for each other. Facebook can’t compare with face time when it comes to building a strong relationship.

Here are 7 advantages to real time, in person, face-to-face relationship building:

1. Facial Expressions. The human face has at least 20 muscles that work in concert to create a myriad of telling facial expressions. Observing those expressions during verbal communication can give you instant feedback about how your message is being received. You can quickly adjust you message on the spot to make it more meaningful or agreeable, and avoid possible misunderstandings.

2. Body language. Unlike a posed profile shot or any still image sent over the internet, you have an opportunity to see the other person’s dynamic reaction and make adjustments. Their real-time body language also provides tons of non-verbal communication you cannot read in a text or email. As humans and social animals we are already wired to get this feedback instantly.

3. Time investment.  When you travel with someone you really get to know them. There likely will be situations that cause stress and anxiety. You will both get to see how the other handles a variety of situations. When you spend time with others, you find out what you truly have in common and you have an opportunity to share your opinions. Spending an extended period with anyone helps you both get to know each other. Visiting someone repeatedly over a period of time can also provide valuable non-verbal clues to his or her values and concerns.

4. Tonality. When spoken, the same words used in a text or email can have different meanings based on the tone, inflection and emphasis of the speaker. You can quickly be aware of intentions behind the spoken word. This can give you a unique opportunity to discuss ideas they may not understand or be comfortable with.

Text, email and friending are great communication tools, but they are not relationship building. Virtual communication is just that – virtual. When you get real, you gain much more than the price of time and vulnerability.

Next week, we will explore other great advantages of face-to-face, real-time communication including Vulnerability, Personalized Attention, and Employability. Plus, we will explore ways to improve your social skills. So, stay in touch.

Who We Are

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact