In this age of social media and all the virtual ways we can connect, it’s still important to make sure and be in front of each other on a regular basis.
In college I studied Speech Communication and one particular story told by the instructor really stuck with me through all of these years. The story starts with the instructor talking about a Rolling Stones concert he attended when he lived in LA. The concert was going to be held at the football stadium and the crowd was unbelievably huge. He had a hard time convincing his new wife to go as she cited the traffic, crowds, late night out when she was going to have to go to work early the next day. After much discussion she finally agreed to attend. To avoid some of the traffic issues they decided to arrive pretty early in the afternoon. The instructor described her demeanor as less than happy to be there. As the crowd started moving in and the stadium getting more active he describes a change in her attitude as well as the crowd. There was an electrical feeling in the air as the sound tests were being done and you could hear the roadies tuning and testing instruments. He describes the growing excitement and that by the time the Stones actually came on the stage she was literally jumping up and down and so glad she was there.
Non Verbal Clues...
This is a phenomenon called non-verbal clues and it also is the reason people still pay a lot of money to go to the movie theatre although they can pretty much watch almost anything in the privacy of their own home. There is something special about the entertainment experience to hear your fellow movie goer “Ooh and Aw” at the same time. Laughing together also enhances the experience.
If you also apply Maslow’s hierarchy of needs the studies show that you can feed and diaper a baby but if you don’t hold and rock it and show it a human touch it will not thrive and many times not even survive. This was witnessed during the world wars in European orphanages.
Get Together Often...
So although it can be a costly exercise, our company who is spread among different cities, makes the investment to bring all of our team together for our All Hands Meetings several times a year. We can’t deny that the return on this investment is huge. Though we have video conferencing and every other way to communicate electronically, the “magic” occurs as we get together physically.
It’s incredibly important to be Present for Each Other, even if it’s occasionally. I have personally witnessed it in our company, and it’s the perfect way to complement the virtual ways we connect.
So as we continue to find new ways to connect electronically let’s not forget how to make the effort to really “visit” with each other in person.