Written by Chad Brines
7 Min Read
Most of us have adapted, quite impressively, to the virtual environment that we find ourselves living in today. Working remotely and connecting online for meetings, joining or hosting virtual calls via the technology of choice, and even conducting full company meetings online. (If you are still struggling with the new virtual etiquette check out last month’s blog post for some pointers)
Then, why did I find myself sitting in my office approximately a year ago asking, “how on earth does it seem like we are so disconnected?”
Clearly, the lack of in-person meetings and personal engagement led to a feeling of disconnection. As human beings, we are hard-wired for personal connection and not the screen type. However, it was deeper.
We seem disconnected:
How is that possible when we are participating in virtual interactions from 8 am until 5 pm, connecting all day long?
Then it hit me. We are currently living in a bite-size (a TV commercial or social media post) connection environment. We move from call to call, agenda to agenda, 30 minutes to 30 minutes. However, in every one of those scenarios, the interaction and connection come to a full stop when the call ends with almost no FILLER time or discussions!
Here are just a few of the opportunities lost in the virtual environment:
- Quick catch-up between two or more colleagues before the meeting starts
- Connection and discussion on scheduled breaks during a multi-hour meeting
- Lunch-time connection during a full-day meeting
- A post-meeting discussion that extends beyond the meeting time
- No downtime to simply connect before an evening team dinner or a function
- Multiple conversations at one time on the same virtual call/video are not possible
All these opportunities have the same thing in common. In the virtual environment, the meeting starts and stops at the scheduled time eliminating additional connection and discussion time. There is no conversation or connection time before or after a meeting or during a break. I can no longer have a sidebar with Julie while Steve is having a sidebar with Mike. It does not work in a virtual environment and, unfortunately, that is where much of the true connection lives inside of organizations. During that organic and spontaneous time that happens as a part of almost every live meeting at either the beginning, middle, or end of the session.
Additionally, consider meetings that are more than one day in length and the value that is created during a dinner with a group of colleagues or your team. Or the time spent at the hotel bar talking about life, family, business, strategy, and ideas. All of it. I can personally attest to this as with almost every overnight meeting that I have attended in the past 20 years, I would return home exhausted. Sure, sometimes it was due to an early morning gathering, but almost always the tiredness was because of a great late-night conversation where we spent time talking about the business and how we get better, grow faster, or improve in different areas. My brain would be in growth and strategy mode for one, two, or three days straight from morning to night, and as a result, I always returned home completely spent.
So, while the business world has adapted incredibly well to the virtual environment, a gentle caution is to not become intoxicated by the convenience of virtual. Virtual meetings have their place, but even in 2023, nothing, absolutely nothing, replaces getting together live and connecting! So, get those live meetings back on the books for 23’ and go create important, valuable, and business-impacting connections. When you do so, if you or your company are looking for a keynote speaker for those live meetings, consider our founder and CEO, Jeff Bloomfield, or our President, Dr. Dan Docherty. Jeff and Dan are both world-renowned speakers that deliver highly engaging, interactive presentations focused on “The Science Behind World-Class Communicators”, which can be customized based to your specific goals as they relate to sales growth, coaching for performance, or a combination of both. Visit www.jeffbloomfield.com or www.dandocherty.com for more information.