For many business people, meetings are seen as a necessary evil and are sometimes viewed as time that could be more productively spent. However, think about the benefits of meeting someone face-to-face. For a start, there’s eye contact.
The subtleties of body language shouldn’t be underestimated either. Non-verbal communication is completely lost over a telephone conversation and although video technology is improving all the time, being ‘in the room’ in order to gauge subtle nuances can make or break a business deal and, at the very least, enhance a business relationship or indicate how a client is truly feeling.
As humans, we all need affirmation, encouragement and a sense of community. Face- to- face meetings that bring people and teams together can nurture relationships, boost creativity and foster open communication in a way that all of the smartphone technology in the world can never do.
By stepping away from the normal working environment, staff, colleagues and clients can get a fresher perspective on things, allowing them to focus more clearly on goals or aspirations without the distraction of everyday office life.
Another advantage of meeting somebody face- to-face is that it usually allows for a little more small talk. This can only enhance understanding of a valued team member’s or a client’s personal life but also of any issues, challenges or concerns they may have. Small talk can be inspiring too, sparking new ideas and strategies, or simply helping to put things into perspective.
Having a telephone conversation or taking part in video conferencing can never replace the sense of engagement or camaraderie experienced at an actual meeting or event. It just simply isn’t the same.
With business life moving increasing faster these days, it’s good to take time out occasionally for some quality business ‘face time’. There may not always be time or a budget available to facilitate this, but the power of a good old-fashioned meeting shouldn’t be underestimated in terms of relationship building, staff retention, motivation and inspiration.
David Vaughton is director of venues for EEF Venues.