The high energy, meaningful dialogue, and engaging personal visits I get from deliberate face-to-face time pumps me up beyond description. These meetings remind me of the importance of face-to-face time and how critical it is to building high-performing teams and establishing strong relationships with clients and one another.
Today, we have some awesome technology tools, including web access, social media apps, and video capabilities, that make it convenient to skip or question the face-to-face meetings. I realize how important all of these tools are to our future, to our innovation, to improving our processes and effectiveness, and to making it easy for our clients to communicate with us. I know being “connected” is the “in” thing.
But have you ever noticed how difficult it is to joke or really experience the fun stuff unless we are face-to-face? We miss out on those joys when we fail to make face-to-face time a priority.
Face time accelerates the building of personal rapport and trust. The impact that body language, facial expressions, tone and eye contact have on building strong relationships cannot be replaced by technology. It’s face-to-face time that breaks down preconceived barriers and makes room for other opinions. No one has had a tougher lesson with this than me. A few years ago, it stung me when some of the feedback from the partner group included comments like “not sure I can trust Joey.” That was a heart stopper. As I went to work on this, I learned that much of it was perceived not because of breaking trust, but simply the absence of significant face-to-face time for us to understand each other. One of the best things I have done since then was to spend face-to-face time with every partner. I feel closer to each one of them. Although we may not agree on everything, we know we all have the firm’s best interest at heart.
As leaders, let’s be diligent in our commitment to valuing our time, face-to-face. Let’s show our clients, prospects and each other how much we care by taking the time to be face-to-face. This commitment alone will do more to grow a WISE Firm culture than anything else. Take the opportunities to build strong relationships and high trust whenever you can. Don’t just hit the technology button.