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Why meeting face to face is killing your business

January 28, 2014

meeting face to face is killing your businessThe sun is shining, the coffee smells fantastic, and you’re looking for a new person to work on your project, so why not turn it into a face to face meeting?

Because it’s a bad idea, that’s why.

Meetings are glorious little sink holes that we can get very, very attached to. They promote us talking about work, which in turn demotes doing work to a lower level.

I’ve long been an advocate for only having meetings when they are absolutely necessary, and only face to face if it’s absolutely essential to the process. I have to be ruthless with meetings because with prospects and leads all asking for their hourly slice, I could consume an entire week each month with meetings and travel. A freelancer like me simply can’t afford that sort of luxury.

But I honestly think most businesses can’t afford to have luxury meetings either. Nor are we exercising our best business judgement when we limit our interactions to people we can physically have coffee with.  Quality is always a better idea than quantity in my opinion, especially when it comes to human interaction. Meetings are no different.

Here’s how your face to face meetings are killing your business.

It’s an entirely inefficient model

I’ve never met a startup, freelancer or small business that had time to burn.  We spend most of our time squeezing the days like lemons for a trickle of extra minutes as is! So buying coffees, dressing up and burning fuel miles to sit in the same spot when Skype or email will do shouldn’t be an essential part of your business dealings.

A meeting is not an indication of making time for someone. It’s a vehicle to get a result and move forward. If your meeting isn’t essential and you push for it, all you demonstrate is you have too much time on your hands. And that’s not a good thing.

Do yourself a favour and save that time for other things. Like doing actual work.

If it can be done on Skype, do it on Skype I say as…

Meeting in person doesn’t prove anything

The whole argument of “but I want to know who I am dealing with” is pretty silly. How I dress, look and order my coffee has absolutely no bearing on how efficiently and effectively I can attend to your project.

If I’m a slamming hottie or a creature from the black lagoon doesn’t make a lick of difference because you are buying what’s in my brain, not on the flesh and bone covering on the outside of it. It does not determine if I have the skills, knowledge or the right cultural fit for your project.

If you want to know who you are dealing with, check a person’s blog, LinkedIn, testimonials and previous projects. Ask the right questions via email. Proof is in the pudding, not the glib patter and choice of perfume.

And besides…

Local isn’t always the best person for the job

You seriously limit your talent pool if you decide that what makes it or breaks it for you is a face to face meeting. Should you really restrict your ability to find the right person for your project by the distance from your workplace or house?

If someone will be servicing your project from home anyway, what difference does it make? Shouldn’t you simply want the right person for the task at hand?

Plus, when you meet, it don’t always make the best use of your time if you consider…

The idea of a meeting is to cut-down the workload

Poring over paper driven assets and going home with half a tree from a meeting leaves most of us with a sour taste in our mouths and things to write up so we know what the heck just happened.

If you are on Skype, assets can be shared in a wink, meetings recorded and summaries done on the computer as the meeting happens.

So go digital and up your productivity and save the trees.

And don’t allow yourself to fail for the biggest productivity trick of all…

Talking tricks your brain

The more you talk about an idea or project, the more you trick your brain into thinking you are making progress. But progress is only ever made when you are actually working on your idea. That won’t happen if you spend a lot of time talking about it and not enough time doing anything towards it.

Cap your desire to talk about your project and focus on working on it to get it done. Doing that only comes from being efficient with the meeting time.

The bottom line on meetings:

I’m not saying no to meetings entirely, and I certainly don’t avoid face to face meetings that are essential to running the business. But I do ensure that a face to face meeting is going to make life easier for both parties AND add more value to the process of getting work done.

Don’t you agree?

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  • Damian Wolf June 3, 2014 at 23:05

    I really like this article. Personally, I don’t like personal meetings because they are all what you mentioned above… mostly a pure waste of time. Sometimes you really must attend to such meetings, but Skype, emails, and all other technologies, helping us to minimize meetings and improve quality (efficiency).

  • admin April 10, 2014 at 17:15

    Oh, I’ve never thought of charging for the travel time, that’s not a bad idea!

  • Anna Butler March 20, 2014 at 14:11

    Sage advice as always. And it’s amazing how ‘non-urgent’ that face-to-face meeting becomes if you start charging for not just meeting time, but travel time as well.

    Suddenly an hour of your time each way becomes more valuable to the client as well.

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