In-Person Meetings Are a Step Towards Some Sort of Normal
When was the last time you got together with a significant number of business associates? I mean together… like in the same room with peers you have not been around in a long time.
Last week I got together with a group of about 15 business executives at a local golf course. Pre-pandemic, this group would meet in person once a month to review business performance metrics, compare policy issues, share ideas, and check-in regarding our personal well-being.
For the last 14 months, we've been meeting over Zoom (like almost everyone else.) These meetings were structured in a similar way. We would have a brief check-in and submit issues that were applicable to each of our respective businesses, then begin processing the issues of the day.
Zoom Meetings Are Better Than Nothing
For the most part, the meetings were…. okay. It was certainly better than not meeting at all, but it seemed a bit disconnected and the attendance was a little sketchy.
For some, there was often something more important than a two or three-hour Zoom meeting to attend. Many of us spent a lot of time on video meetings, and it was hard to stay focused and engaged sitting in front of a camera all day.
When the opportunity to get back together in person was offered, some folks thought that doing a Zoom meeting was good enough. It was even suggested that we make Zoom our permanent meeting location instead of getting back together at all, but when protocols allowed, we planned our first in-person meeting in more than a year.
Collaboration Energized at In-Person Meetings
When the day of the meeting arrived, we all got up, got ready to journey outside of our homes and offices, and traveled to the venue.
As soon as we began to greet each other, you could feel that this day was special. Everyone picked up right where they left off with conversations and small talk.
As we got into the heart of our meeting, processing issues and reviewing the performance of our respective businesses, it became incredibly obvious that we were meant to be together in person. The collaborative environment was energized by our physical proximity. The ideas and solutions that were spawned surprised us with their insightfulness and clarity.
At the end of the day, we went around the room and rated our time together. Everyone rated the meeting a 10 out of 10, including those who thought Zoom would be a better option for the future.
No Replacement for Being in the Same Room
We were meant to be together because that’s how we can be most collaborative. Sure, there are situations where some have no choice but to be remote. Thank goodness for the internet and the tools we have today to help bridge the distance gap!
I’m grateful that it looks like in the very near future, our interactions and relationships will be getting back to some sort of pre-pandemic normal. I’m excited to see how "normal" rolls out in the next few months!
About Marty Kaufman
Marty Kaufman is Founder and President of Accent Computer Solutions, Inc., a Southern California-based innovator in IT thinking. He got his start in the world of Big Data as Manager of Information Systems for General Dynamics. He earned his B.S. degree in Computer Information Systems from California Polytechnic University, Pomona in 1985 and started Accent Computer Solutions as a consulting firm in 1987. He has spent his entire career researching and implementing Information Technology strategies and processes to help his clients reduce the cost and risk of IT.
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