Why Face to Face Meetings Are Still Critical to Your Business

I call it the 35,000 foot problem.

It’s that it’s expensive…frustratingly expensive…to travel to a business meeting. After a flight, a night at a hotel, meals, and a few odds & ends, your meeting costs $1,000 before it’s even started.

Thankfully technology has solved the 35,000 foot problem. It’s great what you can do with video conferencing. We’ve even praised it here, a number of times.

Intangible Benefits Are Worth More Than You Think
Rene Shimada Siegel over at Inc. wrote a great piece though that reminds us, face time really does matter.

She lists 5 reasons why you still need to meet in person. To me the most important is #4:

4. Read the body language. Facial expressions often communicate so much more than words. In their eyes and in their body language, we can see confidence, empathy, fear, friendliness or sincerity. That ability to “read” [the other person] is a huge advantage.

It’s critical that managers and expense account owners remember you can’t calculate the direct financial benefit of every part of a meeting.

Sure a status call will keep you up-to-date on how the project is going, but the side conversations you have walking out of the conference room together tell you what you really want to know.

How Do I Know When to Meet In Person?
If cost is still a factor (which of course it is), how do you strike a good balance? While it depends on what’s most important to your organization, these 3 meetings are usually best in person:

1. Introductions
To work well with someone you need to have a certain amount of trust, or familiarity. This is very tough to create over the phone. Once this is established, your remote work improves greatly.

2. Crisis Management
On a previous project a few years ago, a vendor for my client refused to come on site during a key product outage due to costs. It ended up taking days, not hours, to get back up and running.

Trying to fix something over the phone and email cost us more in lost time than any flight could have cost.

3. Project Delivery
There’s the familiar adage about judging a book by its cover, but what about a book without any cover? To me, delivering a project over email is just that.

So much of business is about perception, and I’ve found the best way to improve that perception is to do so yourself, in person.

Know the best part? LessMeeting works for any meeting – virtual or in person. Try it and see for yourself.


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