Face to Face

Interesting topics discussed on a recent conference call while waiting for people to join/connect:

  • Michael Jackson
  • A 5 year-old is terrorizing the neighborhood pets.
  • The upcoming 4th of July holiday
  • Hotel checkout procedures
  • What’s for dinner

These topics were interrupted occasionally by the following:

  • The “Now Joining” automated message  that seems to come from a female robot. She sounds so authoritative, that it makes me jump each time she speaks.
  • Someone from Tennessee proclaiming, “It’s telling me I have to download the client again.”
  • Denver attendee nervously prodding, “Can anyone connect?”
  • Ambitious consultant from Orlando, asking “Is <someone of vast importance> on the phone?”

About 30 minutes after the conference call started… the conference call actually started.

I don’t mind hearing about rambunctious 5 year olds, and the 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays – but I think our online semi-anonymous world decreases productivity.

Granted, this was a last minute scheduled demo (go to S3 to ask for one), but I think it would’ve gone a whole lot better if all the participants were gathered around the same table. Call me old-fashioned (correctly), or a techno-phobe (incorrectly), but nothing beats a face-to-face meeting with clients.

With a face-to-face meeting, I’m frankly more interested in the fact that your 5 year old could be running in a street that I could be driving on. I’m also more interested in what you know about the hotel checkout procedures. But of more importance, I can interpret the implicit communication you’re giving and adjust the demo accordingly.

Does the client look confused on a specific screen? Maybe I need to explain that better or ask if they have any questions. Does the client have a smirk on their face? They may know something I don’t – but I probably should. Does the client prefer to debate the life and career of Michael Jackson? Then, our software is working fine and they like what they see.


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