Conference call group:
“Can you repeat that again, Rick? I couldn’t quite hear that last part.”
Rick: “Oh, sorry. I was going through a tunnel. What I was saying was as;dlkfjad;flkjasd;gajk;dklafj;daslfjkdsz;laskjf;.”
Conference call group:
Ummm…yeah. That’s still not quite coming through.”
You know and I know it’s happening all the time. It’s happening on conference calls. It’s happening on Skype. It’s happening on Google Plus. It’s happening on Webinars. And I know it’s not just happening to me. So let’s not pretend for all of our innovation that we’ve got perfection at work because we don’t. We can see and hear each other. Congratulations. We can do things we couldn’t do in 1984. But we’re not there yet.
That’s why I’m proud to announce the greatest, clearest, most satisfying experience in meetings ever. It’s dependable. The communication is clearer. It’s like I can see the person right in front of me. Wait. I literally can see the person in front of me and it’s not a hologram:
It’s called Face-To-Face Meetings.
I know it’s pretty wild stuff. See, in a Face-to-Face meeting, you’re actually there. Not kind of there. Not on a screen or listened to over crappy audio where I have to lean in to hear you like I’m a 99-year-old.
“Oh, but that’s not practical.”
Driving isn’t practical? Getting on a plane isn’t practical? That’s hilarious.
You paid for a tricked-out conference room. You can pay for a plane ticket or gas money. Maybe it’s time you asked yourself a hard question about what kind of company you want to be: The kind where people are literally seen or the kind that lives in Virtualville.
I love this ad from United so many years ago that still rings as true today as it did then:
Yes. This is harder and more expensive. But guess what? The one thing you never have to worry about in going belly-to-belly with someone is the quality of the audio or the picture. Ever. Trying to present your work is hard enough. You don’t need the extra hurdle of lousy technology to get in your way for a second.
The irony here is I love the heck out of new gadgetry and technological tools. But in this department, technology hasn’t caught up. And it needs to nail it for us 10 out of 10 times. But no, you’re on a PC and I’m on a Mac so our stuff can’t talk to each other. Did you bring the right cord for this projector or did you leave it back at the office? The browser is too slow. The PowerPoint isn’t showing the slides the right way.
Hell, I was recently at an otherwise enjoyable conference and a presenter cued up a video that DIDN’T FIT THE SCREEN.
I mean…come on now. This is the best we can do in today’s day and age? REALLY?
Here’s the thing that happens in a Face-to-Face that doesn’t happen too often in the other applications: Follow-up questions by other people in the room who feel just a tad more comfortable raising those questions because they don’t have to scream into a speakerphone or try to be seen on-screen. And those little follow-up inquiries are big. Because they actually make that person feel that much more involved in the conversation.
In the agency business, we romanticize the idea of the Golden Age of our business characterized by “Mad Men.” Whether you’re talking about David Ogilvy or Don Draper, you’re talking about personal selling at its finest. Good ol’ handshakes, meet and greets and hopefully knocking their socks off in person.
But reserving that personal touch for the pitch alone may be why some clients feel as though a bait-and-switch occurs once the business is awarded.
Hey, what happened to that Creative Director and the Agency President? That was just for show, huh? Oh well. I guess we’ll see them again when it’s time for the account to go into review.
Relax. I’m not suggesting you toss out your iPhone, iPad or anything else that starts with an “i” like an Amish person.
What I am suggesting is that we tend to use these as a default method of communication rather than remember that our very best relationships are still built on human interaction every chance we get. It’s not always convenient, that I grant you. It can be a downright pain in the butt to get from here to there. But once we do get from here to there, that journey can be the foundation of a longer lasting client relationship.
What are we really talking about here that’s so much harder? Another hour of travel by car? Another four hours in the air somewhere in the country for a meeting today or tomorrow?
What’s it worth to your business to literally go the extra mile?
Wouldn’t you like to find out?
I’m in Chicago but can meet anywhere for a qualified prospect. If you’d like more information on what that kind of person looks like for me and vice versa, what you’re looking for in a brand and content strategist so we’re making the most of each other’s time, connect with me at email@example.com and I’d love to chat with you about the possibilities for getting together.