Should in-person meetings be replaced with emails?

Trying to stay attentive through long informational meetings often leaves attendees tired and even slightly bored, frequently leading to them to question, couldn't this information be sent in an email instead?

According to the Harvard Business Review, the answer is no. There are significant elements of in-person meetings that cannot be transmitted via email. In fact, only 7 percent of information communicated face-to-face is verbal — the elements that can be translated into written text. The vast majority of what is communicated in meetings — 93 percent — are contextual elements such as the speaker's body language, tone of voice, other attendees' reactions and feedback. All of these elements combined lend value to in-person meetings, even if the information itself is dry.

Citing two studies by Justin Kruger, PhD, at New York University, researchers found people consistently overestimate others' ability to ascertain the context of an email, and when this information is lacking, the tendency is to fill in the gaps with stereotypes and faulty assumptions.

The lack of context inherent in email communication opens the door to miscommunication and makes it easier for ideas to be misconstrued, which may eventually necessitate an in-person meeting to clarify the message.

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