With the rise of everything digital, it makes sense that online conferences have become easier and easier to have. The amount of tools available is insane, and it has led many companies to take new stances on remote working, or working from home.
But I want to make sure everyone understands something about digital meetings, or even conference calls. Even if your company is entirely digital, this still matters.
You cannot completely cut out in-person meetings.
In-person meetings matter because human beings make all decisions.
I know what you’re thinking: “Mr. Social-Media, who believes in everything digital, wants us to meet in person?! Why?” Well, I’ve always believed in humans where humans matter. It’s the reason I don’t believe in automation. Because a human should have that job, not a robot.
The same goes with employee to employee interaction, or employee to client. Or boss to employee. Some things just need to be talked about across a table, or in a conference room, or a coffee shop. Wherever you can find space.
Maybe someday we won’t need that kind of interaction. But so far, the robots have not taken over. Don’t get me wrong: it’s coming. I don’t think I’ll see it, but, it’s coming.
But it hasn’t happened yet.
And because of that, meeting in real life for big decisions matters tremendously.
There is so much context that can be done in human interaction. It just doesn’t map the same digitally. That isn’t to say emotion can’t be conveyed digitally. I feel plenty of emotion over discussions on Twitter. But the energy in the room is lost on digital. In conference calls too. And in the end, the energy is what matters so much for the equation.
Digital’s role should be as the gateway to a human interaction. You may hear about something digitally, or get the conversation started over a quick phone call. But to really hash out the details, to get into the specifics, you need that in-person interaction. It provides a whole new context.
Learning to read the feel of a room, to understand what people around you are feeling, is a tremendous skill to have. It doesn’t just make you a better boss or employee or co-worker; it makes you a better person.
So before you abandon those monthly check-ins for a digital space: think again. It might be the context your company needs. Even if it happens just once in a while.
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