Discover more from How to Lead Everybody (with their permission)
Traveling for business meetings?
Do we still need to go?
There’s a saying that resonates with many professionals: “This meeting could have been an email.”
As leaders, it’s a good idea to not to waste anyone’s time, and that includes our own time. When working collaboratively, sometimes an in-the-same-room meeting really is the best option. But before you schedule these (and have to deal with capacity limits and masks and confirming vaccination status and ensuring that everyone who now has a hybrid schedule will be in that office on that day and allowing for travel time and potential delays, etc.), consider your other options.
Sometimes it really can be an email. Many younger professionals don’t really value in-person announcements. Meetings are appropriate when there is going to be an in-person discussion to drive decision-making. One-way communication of things that don’t need input don’t need a meeting. And not everyone needs to be in every meeting.
No all collaboration requires people to be in the same room at the same time. Collaborative document sharing like Slack may be a more effective way to work on many ongoing projects, share schedules and other info, and otherwise keep everyone in the loop.
We still have telephones! Did you know that those amazing gadgets we all have in our pockets allow people to hear each other’s voices in real-time?
We have videoconferencing. Zoom and Teams made working remotely possible in the pandemic. While we’re all feeling a bit “over-Zoomed” after the past 18 months, it’s an effective way to have meetings without being in the same location.
Business travel is expensive, unpredictable, and still carries increased health risks. Rental cars and hotels are wicked expensive these days, and airlines have been canceling flights at an increased rate in the past few months, sometimes with little advance warning. International travel is still restricted among many countries, as well.
But sometimes, there’s no substitute for the in-person meeting. Being in the same room gives people who read nonverbals (facial expressions, body language, etc.) a full picture. It enhances group cohesion and helps build relationships. If that’s your goal, then you probably need an in-person meeting.
No matter what communication methods you use, though, make sure you continue to communicate.