In defence of travel over video-conferencing

High-def “video telepresence” and virtual meetings can’t replace a handshake

A business traveller with a hectic travel schedule involving flying across the Atlantic on a regular basis defends face-to-face meetings, arguing that video-conferencing can never take their place. A teleconference with participants in different locations around the world can often be useful in setting out prior meetings and checkpoint reviews. But meetings that involve brainstorming, truth-telling or complex and sometimes tough messages to colleagues and business partners are best delivered personally. Travelling the distance to be there personally can command respect.
A recent report, “Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies”, says that high-definition “video telepresence” supporting virtual meetings is “on the brink of widespread adoption”. A lifelike effect of being in the same room as the other meeting participants is achieved with high-quality cameras and a set of three 50-inch plasma screens in specially designed rooms. But it still can’t replace the handshake, building a friendly relationship or casual conversation on the way in or out.
[pictured: meeting room, Crowne Plaza London – The City; courtesy IHG]