It’s just amazing these days how electronic communications has shrunk the world. Many of use have mobile phones allowing us to call or text virtually anyone else. We also have a variety of social networks to help us keep up to date with random goings on with family and friends including photos and videos. Meanwhile, some corporate environments have access to video conference facilities allowing interstate or international meetings to take place on very short notice.
However, as fantastic as all of these modes of communication may be I am still of the frame of mind that these don’t quite topple being able to meet people face to face.
Despite being a bit of a social hermit, I do appreciate having the opportunity to catch up with family and friends when I manage to get back to Melbourne. Being able to catch up over a meal or for a special occasion may seem to tip the scales unfairly in favour of face to face meetings (either in personal or professional settings) but it’s just not the same trying to converse over Skype or video conference with a sandwich.
More so on the professional side of things, being able to personally meet and work people particularly if they reside overseas can make all the difference in a working relationship. Some cultures may be sensitive to how working relationships are forged and unless you can work your way into the inner sanctum you may find that you get very little traction. Whilst traveling internationally can introduce overheads in terms of time and money it can be invaluable in the formative stages of building working relationships. Once those have been established then you may be able to fall back to video conferencing, instant messaging and e-mail but it’s not a bad idea to meet in person when time and budget allows.
I will be the first to admit that I do rely heavily on electronic communications and, as convenient as they are, catching up in the flesh still comes out ahead in my books at least for the time being.