The Future of Meetings
By Daniel Burrus
Rising gas prices, airline cutbacks, canceled and delayed flights, skyrocketing travel costs…These are just a few of the challenges facing businesses today.
As a result, more and more home-based business owners are looking for ways to eliminate or at least greatly reduce travel expenses, and they’re re-examining how they’ll conduct meetings in the future.
In the past, some business owners have overreacted and tried to conduct all meetings virtually. Since no one had “meeting guidelines” in place, they learned some hard lessons—that there are times when you actually need to see someone face to face, there are times when an audio conference will do, and there are times when an email is perfectly fine. Companies use video and Web conferencing today more than ever before because they discovered the technology. Now it’s time for business America to step it up a notch and use the new meeting technology to not only save costs, but also to build relationships.
The Future of Relationships
The challenge today is that many companies are going into crisis mode. Because air travel and gas costs are high, they’re using video and Web conferencing, as well as the new high-end videoconferencing called telepresence offered by Cisco and HP, to save travel money. However, if companies’ only motivation is to save money on travel, rather than the more important goal of enhancing communication and collaboration throughout the enterprise, then they’re simply creating another fad. Video conferencing has evolved tremendously over the past few years, and companies need to use the technology of today to pave the path to future profits, all of which hinge on relationships.
Smart companies are changing how they think about meetings and the new video conferencing technology, and they’re realizing that it offers business something more powerful than they’ve had in the past. These companies are thinking in terms of “visual communications” rather than simply video and Web conferencing.
Visual communications heighten the bond you have with someone when you cannot see them face to face. It’s about adding dimension to the communication. There’s a reason why you shake someone’s hand when you meet them: The more senses you involve, the higher the connection. Those companies that can enhance their communication, both internally and externally, are the ones who can cause change faster and stay competitive longer.
How to Make Visual Communications Work
Before you mandate that video conferencing be the only way of conducing meetings, consider the following principles of visual communications.
- First, realize that the need to meet, establish relationships, and share information, knowledge, and wisdom is not going away. No amount of high-tech gadgetry is going to change that in a fundamental way. That’s why face-to-face meetings are still the dominant form of meeting and extremely relevant, because there is no bet...