Conference calls have forever changed our business world.
Long distance communication has become key to the success of many organizations.
Remote workers and virtual teams are quickly becoming the norm these days.
Yet, meeting over the phone is not always the answer.
When you meet face-to-face is when work tends to get done.
You Don’t Have to Be “In Person” But You Need to “Be There”
I am a big believer in face-to-face meetings.
Phone calls are great and convenient, however without discipline they can be wildly ineffective.
The problem with phone conferences is that most people “aren’t there.”
By this, I mean they are probably doing something else.
People end up phoning it in. Attendees (I won’t call them participants) are doing everything but listening to what is happening on the call.
Instead, you get background noise. You call on people and it takes them 30 seconds to “get off of mute.”
On a recent company-wide conference call, it sounded like someone was doing maintenance on their car…
complete with clanging of tools and shouting to their assistant.
Do you think these people were paying attention to anything related to the call?
The Power of Face-to-Face Meetings
Face-to-face meetings are how the hard work usually gets done.
And sometimes it makes sense to meet face-to-face even if there is more time, cost, or inconvenience involved.
Don’t let distance be an excuse for not meeting face-to-face. Video chat is much better than a phone call for discussing tough issues.
Skype, FaceTime, and others apps make it easier than ever to meet face-to-face, even when you are remote.
So, whenever possible, make sure you meet face-to-face.
Here Are 5 Reasons Why Meeting Face-to-Face is Best:
- Body Langauge is Communication – We tend to forget that body langauge plays a major part in our communication. It is not just how you said something, but also your facial expressions and body posture. This is lost in a phone conversation.
- Ensures Engagement – Who knows what people are doing while on conference calls. (You might not want to know.) However, face-to-face leads to engagement. It ensure that people are “in the conversation.” I was on a video call with an executive one day, when I suddenly stopped the call. The VP had leaned over and was having a separate conversation with his assistant. When he turned around, he apologized, “Oh, I guess you could see that.”
- Clarifies Meaning – Conference calls can lead to misunderstandings either due to lack of communication (See #1) or simply because the medium is not conducive to individuals asking for better meaning. It’s much harder to raise your hand on a call than it is in person.
- Drives Participation – When you are all in the same room, it encourages people to participate. You can’t just go sit in the corner and turn your back to the meeting. Yet, this is exactly what many people do on conference calls.
- More Efficient – Face-to-face meetings tend to be shorter than conference calls. On the phone, everyone sits around on mute waiting for the discussion to end. Yes, this can happen in a meeting room. However, in face-to-face situations there is a greater pressure to get to the point.
Face-to-Face Gets It Done
When possible, make sure you meet face-to-face.
You meetings will be shorter, engagement will be higher, and communication will be better understood.
And of course, with technology, you can meet face-to-face even when you aren’t in the same place.
Question: Do you meet face-to-face in your business? What technologies do you leverage?