In this virtual world we spend so much time in, it’s easy to believe texting and friending are relationship building. They’re not. Genuine lasting and dependable relationships take time and physical presence. High touch beats high tech every time.

Your physical presence can build trust you can’t even approach with a keyboard, screen or profile image. People want in-person attention, it’s that simple. If you make the time necessary for a personal meeting, they will not only remember you, but they will appreciate the effort it took. We could not have built the Barefoot brand to become a national best seller without face-to-face meetings and long-lasting relationships all over the country. Those relationships were kept healthy and current with recurring personal visitation.

Here are a few more of the 7 advantages of in-person contact:

5. Vulnerability. Unlike a virtual relationship, the other person can see you in 3-D and observe your dynamic behavior including tone of voice, expression, dress, and body language. They can see your human imperfections and are aware that you are vulnerable to potential personal rejection. But wait! This is a good thing. It makes you appear more believable and sincere. Most people will overlook any foibles in appearance and speech because you are there for them. It’s special! This can be a big advantage in the long run. In the short run, you take precedence over all their virtual relationships.

6. Personalized Attention. This is perhaps the biggest key to sales and the establishment of any long-term relationship. Unless you are together working on a project, it’s hard to multi-task on something unrelated when you are in person. You are focusing on the other person. You are responding to not only what they say, but also their mood, movements, and many other non-verbal signals. You will read these signs and adjust your behavior accordingly. This personal touch is generally better received than letters on a screen. When you use their name, with eye contact and an attentive demeanor, they are more likely to be agreeable, and give you the benefit of the doubt. They know that your time is valuable, and you chose to give it to them. The next time they see you they will be more relaxed and familiar with you. The more visits you have, the more your relationship with that individual strengthens. People want to do business with people they know. You can get to know them better off screen.

7.  Employability. Real social skills, not just social media skills, are quickly becoming the biggest advantage in securing employment today. As more job applicants become dependent on virtual communication, there is a growing demand for employees who know how to relate to people in person. Whether it’s other employees, senior staff members, vendors, suppliers, distributors or customers, employers want employees who can communicate effectively to establish and grow key relationships essential to their business. Just getting past the interview process requires some level of social skills – the better yours are, the more likely you will land that job. Customer service is the backbone of any business, and applicants who can best relate to those customers will have the advantage.

Like any skill, social skills take practice. A good way to start is to eliminate virtual communication when in-person communication is possible or more effective. So shake hands and come out winners!


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