In the debate over whether people should work in the office, or remotely, the in-the-office folks have one good point. A lot of things happen when we interact face-to-face that don’t necessarily happen virtually.
Human beings had little ability to communicate with those who weren’t physically close to them until the past century, and our brains don’t evolve as rapidly as technology. Fortunately, understanding the science of what happens when people interact in person helps us see what’s best done that way, and when virtual meetings are fine.
Italian neuroscientist Giacomo Rizzolatti (and colleagues) developed the idea of “mirror neurons”—when you see a person take some action, your brain fires up the neurons associated with the same action. When your conversation partner smiles, a part of your brain smiles too.
This emotional contagion shouldn’t be underestimated. If you want to introduce employees to a new program, you can send them an email or schedule a conference call to give them the details. If you want them to be as excited as you are about it, on the other hand, you’re probably better off conveying the excitement in person.
Read the whole story: Fast CompanyMore of our Members in the Media >