I’d like to share with you the full version of my recent published contribution http://meettoday.org/wishronquillo/
I have attended a pop-up shop cocktail event – during Valentines – hoping to meet and say hello to one of the people in the magazine industry that I admire. I truly believe that these influencers deserve to know how great their works are, motivating and inspiring people around them. Most thrive through feedbacks and criticism, as humans who need certainty to validate their goals on why they do what they do. An encouragement from his colleague to approach him gave me a go-signal that he is what everyone think he is.
But he is not. He brushed me away without batting an eyelash saying that “he can’t”. I turned away, look at everyone around me, who kept a meter distance from him and another 2 companions despite of the small outdoor space in the pouring rain. I kept on treading my way indoors and kept on hearing the crowd conversations that “He is there…”, “He’s great…”, “He’s near yet…”, “He is…”
I had realized that it was brave (or foolish) of me to walk through that ‘gap space’ between him and the crowd who’d wanted to come and say hello as well. He obviously did not get his own event’s theme of “good conversations.” It demystified the personality of the public figure that disappointed me severely. That 5 seconds will change me for the rest of my life.
It was rather a timing while I am collating my thoughts on what to write for @Michael Beddows for the Trendr blog, that this came about. Surely not a good experience but indeed a great ground for what my thoughts are regarding personable, face-to-face meetings. That unfortunate event armed me with substantial, but simple facts.
Senses tell your gut what and whom you are dealing with.
No man is really an island. Humans have a lot of sensory perception that guide (or misguide) their judgment of the person or situation. There are lots of apps and technologies that may simulate productivity in virtual meetings but the eye contact in real-life encounters mean as much as a real handshake. I am sure that most of us could determine a person’s demeanor through the grip of their handshakes, which virtual productivity tools cannot provide.
The sensory factors carry us through the foundation of trust, respect and familiarity. It is also an affirmation of our judgment and comfort when we apply the foundations before and after meeting in person.
It also avoids misconceptions, miscalculations and doubts. You could trust your instincts better looking right through the person you’re meeting with. As simple as a jitter, stutter, blush– that which you could say signs of insecurity will give you a better basis about the person. In my case, it made me realise how naive I was to “assume” the greatest goodness in the people that I don’t really know, mostly public figures. Lesson learned.
Reality is realized faster.
Most misunderstandings are technicalities coming from the lack of expression and tone of typed messages. “This is urgent.” and “This is urgent!” could only say so much. Is it angry? Is it demanding? Is it sarcastic? Is it excitable? Emoticons could only impose an idea of what you mean, which conceals more of the real truth behind what is genuinely being said, aside from their unprofessional usage in a business setting.
My former boss told me more than once that, “when you cannot solve a teamwork problem, book a ticket and go there!” We used a lot of virtual meetings but dealing with colleagues of different languages, and English is only their second or third spoken language, it takes your presence to make things efficient and functional. It avoids many (mis-)apprehension of one direction, skewed by different interpretations of what is being said virtually.
Body language is a sign language.
Apart from your senses dictating better judgment, communicating with eye contact, hand gestures and such give a better picture of what you are trying to say. Cannot find the right local word? Cannot express what you envision in words? Act it out, Pictionary-style, or however you know would convey what you can’t just say in words, phrases or sentences. Heck, dance if you need be to get your real message across.
Getting Involved and Demystify.
Meeting people face-to-face gives the first initiation of familiarity and trust. And it gives you a better sense of what is happening within a particular surrounding. You donate to a charity, and visit that institution eventually or do it hands-on. It gives better impact on yourself and others. You lessen blind spots and mysteriousness that may delude you into thinking of a fantasy, instead of realities of your own experience. This is my latest acquiescence.
Tighten your bonds.
With these, you form better bonds and foundations. Your perception is wider and you tend to ‘see’ things clearly. Strong bonds are in the eyes of a beholder… and the rest conclude a better basis.
From which, I carry on and hope to always experience the best business networking and meetings out there. My latest experience will just arm me with better awareness.
“There is no such thing as a virtual beer. It is for this reason that face-to-face meetings will remain viable for the future, despite recession-induced drops in attendance.”
VOICE-OVER: Meetings, working from home, virtual vs physical are a big ball of conversation. I will trickle down a few posts as we go along.