No matter what round of funding you're looking for, there's something that's just as important as the facts & figures of your business: the trust between you and your investors.
Digital communications are phenomenal. It allows us to connect with anyone anywhere in the world at any time. We can fire off an email at 1am from our hotel room, and then get a reply 20 minutes later from someone suffering from equal parts insomnia & "inbox-itis."
But, easy done is easy ignored.
Think about it. How likely are you to reply to an email when it's obviously a form email with the brackets still visible because whoever sent it to you forgot to fill out that part of your profile?
Hello [First Name]! I was look at your [Website] and noticed you're a trusted thought leader in [Industry].
You can't click Spam fast enough.
Or, you can't see the smile on the author's face when typing out their carefully crafted joke. Without the visual clues, you think they're serious and come to the conclusion that they're completely unfit to do business with. Being funny is incredibly difficult in the best circumstances, and nearly impossible in the written form unless you're an expert.
With a simple search you can find thousands of articles on the importance of face-to-face communication if you want to create trustworthy connections.
"It's body language!" they shout. "Stand tall, shoulders back, and fake it 'til you make it!"
And while body language would help people understand your emails more easily, it's precisely the fact that body language is so over-played that makes it a drawback.
People are aware of how aware others are of micro facial expressions, body language, handshake firmness/duration, etc but they forget a huge piece of the puzzle: tone of voice.
In a 2017 study published in American Psychological Association, researchers found that voice-only communication seems to lead to better understanding of the speaker's intent than body-language only communication.
Participants who listened to what someone was saying were more successful at reading the emotional content of the message more easily than those who heard nothing, but could see the speaker.
This is a powerful insight into what part of your message carries the most weight. It also goes a long way in supporting the old adage:
It's not what you say, but how you say it that matters.
Another interesting detail is, it's harder for someone to fake their tone of voice. We're incredibly adept at reading voice inflections and evaluating them for trustworthiness.
There's a cool online test you can take to see what I mean. It looks like it was made in 1994, but don't let the design (the web's version of body language) fool you.
The next time you're tempted to fire off an email, consider picking up the phone.
In our overbusy world, a quick phone call can often say much more, much faster(with fewer misunderstandings) than a simple email.
But, when it comes down to it, nothing beats honest-to-goodness old fashioned in person communication.
It's how we've been doing things for hundreds of thousands of years, and it's becoming a lost art.
What could take months over email & phone calls can happen in just a few short minutes chatting in person.
So, if you're an entrepreneur (or investor) looking to build a business on trust, I would suggest you check out a phenomenal opportunity; it's a conference in Austin TX coming up on April 26th.
Check it out.