Meeting face to face

11th June 2010

This week I have been facilitating a global meeting for a large international organisation. This seems to be a trend amongst many of the large organisations we work with. This is the third meeting of this type we have run in the last two weeks. It seems that the travel bans of the last couple of years have lead to envorced virtual working and now people are realising the limitations.

If a face to face meeting is well run, it is a far more effective means of getting a group to work on a task together than a series of virtual intervantions. Problems, duplications and inconsistencies can easily arise when people aren’t able to communicate properly and, with reduced headcounts in many organisations, it is so important the we work efficiently and effectively.

I was tutoring at Henley Business School on Monday morning, and got talking to a fellow tutor on the MSc in coaching and behavioural change. He is a psychologist and was talking to me about the fundamental hard wiring of the human brain. In summary, the limbic system, which controls our emotions, is not stimulated by the current ways of virtual working. The implications of this are that people become very dissatisfied with working in this way.

My observations of the meeting this week were…

  • how much people appreciate being able to have informal face to face conversations with their colleagues.
  • using non-technical means, like paper, pens and cards, to facilitate those conversations works best.

As the leader of a virtual team myself, I can see how important it is for people to get together and talk.