Face-to-face meetings have taken a beating lately in the business media, as people rail against the posing, time-wasting, and drudgery that is typical of these gatherings. Having attended more than my share, I can say that this beating is warranted.
The well-documented solution is to think through the goals, invite list, and agenda for every meeting. But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about recognizing the value of being in the same room with people.
Social media has raised my awareness of this issue. It's easy to go after someone using our keyboards, perhaps because we’re focused on a particular statement of theirs that we find objectionable. But when we meet face-to-face, we see more than just their statement; we see a person…a fellow human being that can’t be dismissed so easily.
The same concept holds true in our work lives. It's easy to lose empathy for colleagues when we’re on a conference call or sending an email. But when we’re in the same physical space, we see them more completely, and our interactions become more considerate, more thoughtful, more human. And we could all use more of that.
For a great laugh on this topic, check out "10 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings" from the hilarious Sarah Cooper.