Forgetting the power of face-to-face meetings


I, like many others, hide most of my day behind a computer screen. Social media, instant messaging and email allow me to stay in touch with friends, family and colleagues no matter where they are. It’s so natural to just sit and type, I sometimes forget just how decisive face-to-face meetings can be.

Prior to the Cardiff Start Launch Event a few colleagues and I trying to organise corporate sponsors to help fund a day of free workshops and a launch party in the evening. We identified several companies that we thought were a really good match, but emails and calls mostly fell on deaf ears.

Less than a month before the big day, I happened to be at an award ceremony in Bath as part of a competition I was mentoring. One of the awards went to a company we had previously contacted for sponsorship. I quickly made a mental note of what the guy on-stage looked like and decided to hunt him down after the ceremony.

I found our guy by the bar and took the opportunity to buy him a drink. Now that we were face-to-face, I just came out with our request and asked him about sponsorship for our launch event. We spoke a little about the event’s mission and also what they could get out of it. Within five minutes we’d shaken on it.

To say I was pleased is an understatement.

I, like many others, hide most of my day behind a computer screen, but in doing so we allow people to ignore us or say no without any real thought. It’s much easier to receive criticism and much harder to adapt your proposition during an online conversation than when you’re standing in front of the person you are talking to. It may seem obvious, but after spending several years dealing mostly online, it’s easy to forget.

From now on, if I really need something, I will make much more of an effort to stand in front of the person and ask them in person.