Face-to-face value

by Charlotte Tapp – Mar 17, 2022

I’m definitely a cameras-on type of person. In fact, I have this weird habit of lifting my sunglasses up to speak to someone. Yes, I know that doesn’t happen much in the office or in meetings, but it’s like I can’t see or hear people properly without eye-to-eye contact.

I’ve had a couple of uncomfortable presentations on Skype and Teams where nobody has their camera on. So, there I was rabbiting on to a group of faceless people, hoping what I was saying resonated, and my audience had to either cough loudly or interrupt me to ask a question. Excruciating.

And even with cameras on, there are the people who use ‘the hand’ within a Teams meeting to say something. I know they are being polite, but please interrupt me.  But then again, I find my hands inadvertently doing stuff as well… like popping up and waving at the end of a call.

Plus, don’t get me started on the tech issues…Dodgy internet connections, Webex cutting out, Zoom misbehaving and malfunctioning headphones which make you sound like you’re in a wind tunnel (apparently).

When the tech gods allow it and we’re having an actual conversation, I appreciate there are certain benefits to virtual calls. It’s lovely to see clients far away and who we wouldn’t necessarily get to meet. And it’s a great reminder that, while we may all work hard, people have lives outside work. We understand you’re juggling childcare, managing health concerns, family events good and bad, even the odd Amazon or food delivery. We see it and hear it. It’s a collective experience.

Nevertheless, you perhaps won’t be at all surprised to hear I can’t wait for face-to-face meetings to properly start again.

Any excuse and I am round your offices. I’ll bring the cakes if you provide the coffee. Or, let’s pop out for a coffee and support a local business. Alternatively, you’ll receive a very warm welcome here at Wardour. Just an hour of your time. Whatever works for you.

If you can do a meeting in-person, let’s do it!

So much of what we do is about building relationships. Video calls enabled us to continue doing business during Covid, but something has been missing. I know video calls aren’t going away, but please, we can’t slip into a world where video calls completely replace face-to-face meetings.

I admit I am a little bit spoilt, in that most of my clients operate in the London area. In fact, writing this has made me reassess my client relationships which are a bit further afield. Pre-Covid, was I a bit too reliant on conference calls and email? Post-Covid, it’s more important than ever that we reconnect, and in person. We need to double our efforts to visit clients. After all, you are important to us, and we care. You, physical you, are the missing something and the reason I enjoy my work.

I suppose it’s been nice getting to know, ‘Mr Cuddles’ and ‘Whisky’. Yes, real cat names – another blog, perhaps: ‘what your choice of pet name tells us’. And of course, your choice of wall artwork and kitchen unit colour. But really, I can’t wait to visit you in your work environment.

Published Mar 17, 2022

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