ChapterÂ 15.Â Visualizing at a Distance: Using Tablets in Web Meetings
Teams are increasingly using teleconferencing and web conferencing to save travel time and costs. Some are seeing the bulk of their teamwork done virtually, with only occasional face-to-face meetings. Many sales teams never have face-to-face meetings since they are distributed over wide geographies. I remember flying East one time sitting next to a salesperson from a high-tech firm. I asked about how they organized their sales teams and this person said that they worked almost entirely by web and teleconference. "Why are you traveling?" I asked. "I have to meet people in person to have a relationship. As their manager there is no substitute for showing up."
Another colleague insists that teams don't need to have any face time to be effective. She lives in California and has very trusted colleagues in England that she has never met. I believe this is increasingly possible, especially with Internet telephony and video, making the costs of distance communications affordable.
Most of the people I know would still say that knowing people personally helps a great deal, and that investment in occasional, well-designed, get-togethers makes a big difference. I believe face time is especially important in cross-cultural teams of any sort, where people make very different use of business English and life experiences produce ...