Skip The Text: Science Says Meeting In Person Is Worth The Extra Effort

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This Curiosity article is sponsored by Shapr

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This content was created in collaboration with Shapr, a free app that helps professionals meet face-to-face for inspiring conversations and meaningful collaborations.

You're thinking about changing careers, but you don't know where to start. You need advice from experts in your new field, and a friend has someone he thinks would be the perfect mentor. What do you do? We have a recommendation: don't ask over email. Instead, make an appointment to meet in person. Face-to-face interactions might take more planning and effort, but they're way more effective in the end. That's true whether you're dealing with friends and family or building a professional network. There are several recent studies that make it easy to understand why.

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Get In Some Face Time

In a 2016 study, researchers had 45 college students each ask 10 strangers (450 strangers in total) to fill out a brief survey. All of the students followed the exact same script. The only difference? Half asked over email, the other half asked face to face. The results were striking. People were 34 times more likely to fill out the survey if they were asked in person than if they were asked via email.

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In 2014, another study found that the simple act of shaking hands—something you definitely can't do in a text message—made people more cooperative, more open to negotiation, and less likely to lie. There's also the fact that seeing people's emotions in person can be contagious. Smile at a coworker, and their mirror neurons will likely fire up and make them smile too. An emoji may be nice, but it's nothing compared to your dashing mug.

In-Person Goes High Tech

This is relevant news for anyone, since we all interact with people every day. But it's especially important for those in the professional sphere, where genuine, meaningful connections aren't just nice—they can literally put food on your table. How many of your daily virtual interactions could you turn into face-to-face meetings? How might that change what you can accomplish?

The professional networking app Shapr is designed to help people take those interactions offline and put them in the real world. It relies on your professional and personal interests to make daily suggestions of people you might like to meet for a chat about the industry or a mentoring session over coffee. The experts behind the technology suggest spending some time each day—as little as one minute, since a batch of profiles is already curated for you—making plans to meet new people in real life, rather than just online. That way, it's much easier to set an in-person meeting, shake that person's hand, and get ready to make a human connection.

If you're interested in Shapr, getting started is easy—just plug in your LinkedIn account and set your interests so their algorithms can recommend the best nearby people to meet for a face-to-face conversation. Click here to download the free Shapr app for iPhone or Android.

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This Curiosity article is sponsored by Shapr