At Applied Influence Group we're often asked how to be more successful at 'remote' influencing.  In a world of email, IM, Skype and Social Media lots of people want to know how to influence using these channels.  

"I don't have time for face to face meetings."

"It's just not how we work these days."

There are lots of things that can be done to improve your remote influencing.  Societal Pressures such as social proof, reciprocity and authority work in similiar ways remotely.  Messages can still be tailored to the individual who you're trying to influence.  

But, and it's a big but, there's so much missing from a remote interaction.  Most people are probably aware of the importance of non-verbal communication but maybe not why it's so important to influence.

Without non-verbal cues it's much more difficult to work out how the other person is responding emotionally to what you are saying.  As much as we might like to think otherwise we make emotional decisions which we rationalise afterwards.  When someone receives an email or IM you can't see the flash of surprise, joy or fear that crosses their face when they receive your message.  You can't dynamically respond to that, altering or reinforcing what you're saying.

So yes, you can get better at remote influence but face to face will always be best.  34 times better apparently.