Recently, I delivered a keynote presentation about business growth, "Fence Posts to Trees," to the top forty emerging leaders of a U.K.-based pharmaceutical company. I ate with one of their five senior VPs during the meal that preceded.He lives in Scotland, commutes to London weekly, and travels to other countries.
We talked about his travel schedule a bit and I asked, "How much do you employ technology to conduct virtual meetings?"
To my surprise he answered, "More than I like. When we're doing business in other countries, it's difficult to virtually communicate some things."
As we talked more, here's what I heard him saying. Think of them as three reasons to do business face-to-face.
A face-to-face meeting:
Let's face it-there are a lot of companies out there that you can do business with. What separates the companies you choose from the companies you don't select is about the business transaction, but it's more than that. There is the human connection.
There are some aspects of the human connection that don't communicate well even if you use video. The myopic view of the camera misses gestures, body language, some vocal intonations, and the je ne sais quoi of human interaction. It takes the total package of the human experience to transform a business transaction into a business experience. Such experiences break the ice in a different direction that captures our interest and imagination. It's the most important "why" of closing a deal.
As my senior VP friend talked about communicating corporate core values internationally and how they take expression in the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, I realized he was talking about trust.
Getting in front of a manufacturing partner meant he could insure that the high standards by which his company produces viable health solutions is more likely to happen. By meeting face-to-face, he could validate the necessary protocols and procedures were followed, therefore building trust in the relationship.
Exchanges idea more effectively
Doing business in the global village means there are certain cultural assumptions we all make based on our background. Those assumptions don't translate without explicit statements.
On site, my friend could not only impart knowledge, but receive ideas from the new partner. These ideas are more effectively exchanged person-to-person; looking someone in the eye, listening carefully for vocal nuances, and experiencing the total communication process. By meeting face-to-face, he was in a better position to give and receive information that improved the business relationship.
While technology certainly empowers us to do business in markets and manners previously unavailable, the desire for human interaction still exists deep within us.
To Conceive a Work Positive lifestyle and greatly improve your productivity and profitability, be sure to meet face-to-face whenever possible.