"You’re doing what?" I asked with disbelief. I was talking to an executive and couldn't believe what I was hearing. He had just gotten back from a grueling trip across the country. The trip itself takes 30 hours, not to mention the travel and stress upon arriving. This is a seasoned executive who has many years of experience in leading others. He repeated, "I'm going back over seas next week.” I inquired why he would subject his physical and emotional health to this difficult task. He said, "Because some things cannot be accomplished with technology. I need to visit each plant and I need to look my team members in the eye. It is crucial that I build trust with this team.”
This was a great reminder that there are times when we need to make the effort to have face-to-face conversations. I will never forget the large corporation who decided to use cubicles to increase face-to-face communication. What actually happened was the opposite. Employees continued emailing communication and many times the person being communicated to was sitting in the next cubicle!
This wise executive reminded me that effective communication is not just about spewing information to someone. It is about investment, respect and trust. Those team members will have a new level of appreciation and respect for this executive who demonstrated sacrifice in order to come to them.
Ask yourself the question, "Whom do I need to have a face-to-face conversation with?" Choose to make the time, energy and effort to have an in-person, one-on-one conversation with those who are important in your life and you will make a difference.