This anecdote has been quoted by Carol Kinsey Goman, PhD, author of 'The Nonverbal Advantage'. Practical tips on body language are available on Carol’s blog.
In a Fortune 25 Company, teleconferences provided an ongoing opportunity for small groups of employees to get up close and personal with the CEO.
Time after time, employees would ask questions that had already been communicated in various company publications and through dozens of email announcements.
After the sessions, the beleaguered CEO asked his communication manager, "How many times have we told them about that? Why don't they know that?"
"Oh, they! know it," the communications manager replied. "They just want to hear it from you. More importantly, they want to be able to look at you when you say it."
Anyone working in a corporate environment would be familiar with the "Don't people read their mail?" puzzle. This little story emphasizes the importance of face-to-face communication, especially for leaders, something that is becoming less frequent due to distributed teams and availability of conferencing technologies.
Highly effective people travel a lot, and also wander around the office. Ram Charan, one of the top-rated management gurus today, is said to have clocked 500,000 miles (800,000 km) on aircraft in 2008.