With technology’s rise, will face-to-face meetings become a relic of the past? (Part 2)

We are all social animals by nature and human contact and interaction is so important in our lives. And this very much relates to how we conduct our business.

I always say that the moment someone walks into the room I can tell whether or not I want to employ them as part of our team. The same is true when I meet new clients – I know if they’re going to be a pleasure to work with or potentially difficult, it’s in their attitude and basically in the chemistry between us.

There are so many elements to human communication – hand gestures, eye movement, body language, tone of voice and so on, all of which play their part in how we assess a person or a situation. For these reasons I believe that nothing replaces face-to-face contact, and I don’t mean Skype or Viber!

Video-conference calls are not a bad alternative in some circumstances, and global conference calls have become a major part of our business these days, but when it comes to beginning a relationship, it should always be face–to–face so you know who and what you’re dealing with.

I also think that mutual trust is very important in business and this is nowhere more evident than in Asia; the Chinese for example will not do business with you until they have met you. And as our PR business grows in China, I am beginning to understand the importance of my presence at initial meetings with potential clients, and indeed at regular intervals thereafter to keep the relationship in good shape.

Lynn Grebstad is a partner at Grebstad Hicks Communications. She has more than 25 years’ experience in the international hospitality and public relations industries in Europe and Asia, including the Peninsula Hong Kong, The Regent and The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels Limited. In 1994 she established Lynn D Grebstad & Associates, specialising in marketing and public relations for luxury hotels, and in 1998 this was merged with Paul J Hicks & Associates to form Grebstad Hicks Communications


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