Recently I read a blog, written a while ago, by a virtual worker. I’m not a virtual worker, though in some sense my travel schedule and far ranging company require me to work virtually for long periods at a time, so I always think of virtual as “a meeting not requiring travel and saving costs”. First to my mind are the often mind-numbing webinars, conference calls, etc.
This blog captured my eye because this was a worker who truly works virtually, and to this point had NEVER connected with colleagues even though they had a lot of electronic and Skype interaction. It got me because I sometimes struggle to find an easy to understand answer to “why are face-to-face meetings important?”.
We just KNOW they are; yet, we struggle to articulate it.
Here, however, is someone who doesn’t make their living off live events. Their organization hosted a live gathering of virtual workers, and here’s his viewpoint about its value:
“This face-to-face meeting has given me a new perspective on the advantages a virtual team can gain from a face-to-face meeting, even after working virtually for a period of time. These advantages fall mainly in the realm of team building:
- Strengthening of bonds among team members
- Creation of a similar experience to build comfort among virtual team members
- Reinforcement of the importance of one’s work-related roles and their implications on “real” people and other team members “
Now, here’s the real power and thrust of this message that I took away:
“As hard as it is for me to explain, the real life meeting gave our team an advantage in that we became closer as people, which will make it easier to work together in the future.”(1)
Who doesn’t get that? They bring us closer together as people, and that will make it easier to work together in the future. Is it really that simple? Really?
We often get caught up in the planner, supplier roles, the brand we work for, our personal brand, and all of the other “buzzwords”. At the end of the day, the greatest benefit I get from being with people at meetings and other face-to-face events is that it gives me a chance to really connect with people, and these great relationships that I’ve formed via PCMA do help me work together more easily each and every day.
So, share. What’s your answer when people ask you why face-to-face meetings are important?