Increasingly, business is conducted online. This is generally a good thing. Dispersed parties can weigh in efficiently – via phone conference, video conference, remote presentation, etc. The freedom and flexibility granted by removing travel time, and in granting a virtual presence to most anyone, anywhere, was unavailable a generation ago, and is very powerful.
However, today I’m not speaking about dispersed parties – nor the simple share of communications, and files, via e-mail, the web, or central data repositories.
I’m seeing phone conferences, even video chats and meetings, between colleagues in the same building – even on the same floor! I don’t know if they’re in love with their technical enablements or if some of them simply need to bathe more often… or what.
I like meeting and interfacing with people on a real-world basis. I want the face-to-face wherever possible, wherever feasible. I don’t know about you, but I feel a lot more confident when a colleague commits to something, shakes my hand, and looks me in the eye – to say nothing of a vendor or member of some allied agency.
I remember one organization where a vendor came in-house for a meeting, whereby all attendees were in the building – but found out it was online - and sat alone in the conference room to “attend”!
I think there’s also a threshold of another sort beyond distance, efficiency, and general demand of schedules – that threshold is an assessment for the benefits of a face-to-face vs. the demands of scheduling and assembling any particular team in the flesh: Whether a formal team, or an ad hoc one. People tend to be a little more cordial when meeting in person; a bit more compromising and accommodating.
When scheduling meetings, do not hesitate to put this advantage forth to the prospective participants. If anyone squawks about showing up, you have the added advantage that you can “accidentally” step on their foot. *
On this day: On this day in 1957, the Wham-O Company produced the first Frisbee.
* Note: Mr. Scott does not actually advocate stepping on people’s feet. The aforementioned action was for purposes of humor, and should not be mistaken for professional advice or guidance.