Businessweek Archives

It's O.K. to Not Be There


How many times have you flown to a meeting to help close a deal, build relationships with partners, or connect face-to-face with a customer? Without dismissing in-person interaction, there is something to be said for today’s technologies that enable fast, affordable interaction without the travel.

But do you miss out on something by not traveling and, therefore, not seeing people in person? Below I’ve listed a few common concerns about not being there for meetings:

Myth 1: You always need to be in front of your customer in order to take care of business.

In a recent study by Wainhouse and InterCall, 56% of respondents felt that if more in-person meetings were replaced by conference calls, both parties would be able to get more done. Conferencing allows you to stay in your comfort zone and conduct meetings with anyone, anywhere. Being there can simply mean dialing a couple of numbers and making a few clicks.

Myth 2: Bringing a new technology to the workplace will slow down employees. Conferencing is extremely easy to use, which is why it’s such an invaluable tool. Conferencing tools can be as simple as a light switch. Most conferencing providers also offer free training so you can get up and running quickly.

Myth 3: It’s going to require a lot of time and energy to enact companywide travel alternatives. You don’t need to hire a private consultant to conduct a cost-benefits analysis. A great conferencing provider should have expert meeting consultants who can help you determine exactly what you need and exactly how you’d benefit.

When looking to manage costs without sacrificing customer relations or profit margins, small businesses should strongly consider reducing travel with conferencing. You’ll quickly start to realize that it’s O.K. to not be there.

Kathleen Finato

Senior Vice-President for Marketing and Business Development

InterCall

Chicago


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