How do you decide which meeting needs to be upgraded from a conference call to physical travel?
A comment made by my former boss was he made a point of visiting the other offices periodically, not just to attend meetings, but to be visibly available. An opportunity staff members from other offices were rarely afforded. His intentional scheduling, not only filled the purpose of conducting the meeting, but he was also internally networking people who in any other situation would just be a name in another office. They got to know the leadership body firsthand, and he got to know his staff (and product of the professional services firm). He got to know them by simply being there and working there a couple of days every couple of months. Now lets talk about whether conference call or work travel is the better option.
Travelling for work can be exciting. It is exciting for the regular person. If it happens sometimes. If it is a regular aspect of your job, you need to ask yourself? Can any of this be completed by a conference call instead of travel? Can I save costs and billable time and just arrange a call? To have a meeting in person generally attributes sensitive content material or the meeting consists of seeing and touching something in person. Other than that, the majority of meetings can be conducted by conference call.
Whilst it can be a bit of fun to travel for work, the expense and time needed to do it are a factor that simply cannot be ignored. Do you really need to be there in person? What benefit will being there gain you? Can it be done effectively on conference call? Will it convey the wrong message if you do not go in person? Can the meeting be deferred to another date so it can coincide with another appointment to limit the expense?
In saying the above, the in-person important consideration needs to be addressed. People feel a sense of relationship when meeting someone in person. There is a sense of bond and importance associated to having a face to face if it is not normally possible to stick you head around the corner and quickly chat. Face to face meetings can give a gravity to the intention of the meeting not found over the phone.
So, determine for your next meeting – Time, Effort, Schedule, Cost, Timeframe – Will it be a conference call or a flight?