05 Aug Cheek to Cheek: Benefits of Face-to-Face Meetings
This week, I had clients come to town to visit me. In person. They actually got on a plane to see me. And flew for at least an hour. We had a great time collaborating, brainstorming, and plotting our next steps. It was worth every minute. What we accomplished in person would have been accomplished over at least 5 phone calls, if not more. We also got in a great happy hour and a fantastic twilight tour of the DC sites.
But are four benefits of face-to-face meetings:
You’re off the record.
Many of my clients work in cubes and can’t have private telephone conversations with me or anyone else. This means that when I talk to them on the phone, I might not get to hear the most important information they can share: the unique team dynamics or executive’s personality quirks that would make or break our ability to effectively collaborate. When my clients visited this week, I was able to hear about their daily challenges and opportunities in a very candid manner. And over wine!
Make use of not-so-small talk.
Most business conversations are focused on solving a problem quickly and efficiently, while business relationships are built when people take the time to share and learn more about each other. That happens more naturally in person than over the phone or in an email. I found myself chatting with my clients about wedding plans, children, and hopes and dreams for the future.
Make an impression.
I have a huge red bag. Get it– my big red bag is an extensive of my brand. It also carries EVERYTHING important to me. Laptop, lipstick, folders, notes, face powder, mints, passwords, handiwipes, phone, tablet and a leftover hotel key from a client event. But when people see my big red bag, it starts a great conversation—a lot of what do you have in there, Karen? And it gives me a chance to share my business story. Cannot talk about the big red bag over email!
Read the body language.
Facial expressions often communicate so much more than words. This week I was able to understand sensitivities over certain topics, what makes my clients nervous, when they are truly happy and of course, when they have had enough of a conversation.
I love new technologies that allow me communicate with others more freely and quickly. But as a solutions provider, I try to remember customers want to work with someone they can relate to, not just buy from.
Have more benefits of face-to-face meetings you want to share with us? Give us a shout!