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In Defense of Meetings

July 06, 20202 min read

It’s obvious today’s technology has made it easier to communicate. You might even say we have an information overload. With social media, Slack, emails, and others, we now are challenged with turning off what is unimportant, and focused attention becomes the key. The struggle now is to determine the vital and act on it with as little effort required. This is no small task.

During the lockdown, we found it interesting that people were picking up the phone and were easier to talk with. Perhaps this was due to the disconnectedness with remote work, or it may have been our charming personality. Either way, it felt good to connect outside of email in a Microsoft Teams meeting or on the phone.

Another observation we’ve seen is the lack of meeting interest. Even with social separation, people don’t seem to want to meet. This is something predating the pandemic, however. If an email could suffice, then most people just wanted to handle issues with emails. Unfortunately, with complicated matters such as entitlements or design, requiring multiple decisions and persuasion, a meeting is gold.

We’ve seen this recently on a project where we were not getting responses from the City regarding easements. The City is being unreasonable, and every attempt to email brings back more questions and comments. Back and forth for two months. We set up a call, then a meeting, with decisions and next steps, and the resolution came in 30 minutes. A well-timed and well-planned meeting is more valuable to a project timeline than three shifts of labor.

Why is this? Because studies show 65% of our communication is non-verbal. When we communicate via email, we are getting even less than the 35% we get on the phone. Zoom and Teams help very little, because you cannot fully see the body language, and many are distracted with multitasking.

So, what is the 21st century’s greatest currency now? We think it’s attention. To receive someone’s undivided attention is rare and fulfilling. And satisfies our human need to be valued. Be heard. That’s why meetings are vital in the business world and vital for the future of ourselves.

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4Site Advisors

Representing Owners in Commercial and Residential Projects Throughout The United States.

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