In the interest of time and money, many have turned to conference calls, web ex, chat, email, and other technological marvels to eliminate our need to travel and meet in person.
While I have leveraged social media to “meet” many new people, open up opportunities to discuss business electronically and over the phone, my business trip last week reinforced to me the true value of meeting people face-to-face.
Electronic correspondence gives a very one dimensional experience, phone adds some layers as one can discern emotion within language, and in-person you experience the full range of senses including body language, professionalism, corporate environment, and other nuances that can make a big difference in determining whether or not to partner or conduct business with an individual or company.
For me, I want to know that the people I’m going to work with are people I want to be associated with. To learn this, you have to meet and get to know people on a more personal level. You have to see their interaction with you and with others. You can only experience this through observation.
So while I pushed myself to get as much in as possible during my travels last week and I paid for it with sleep depravity and near exhaustion, I’d do it again for the trip was invaluable in building some critical relationships for the future.