Meetings are a necessary part of doing business. Traveling for business is a consequence of the need to interact in person. However, it is not always a requirement for conducting business. We have had successful business relationships for years with people we have never met. Everything still got done on time and within budget.
Why are we talking about this? While unpacking from our recent trip, we came across a copy of USA Today. We saved it because of an advertisement claiming that canceling meetings "cost jobs."
That kind of thinking is SO wrong-headed that we felt we had to respond. The U.S. Travel Association sponsored the ad in USA Today. They made some pretty disingenuous and self-serving claims such as "...for every meeting that is cancelled, jobs are lost..." What nonsense! In our experience, for every meeting that is cancelled, time is saved and productivity is raised. What we should really be doing is to STOP meeting and start DOING.
Another claim is that "top salesmen" and "high peformers" are the ones that need meetings. The implied message is they need to TRAVEL for these meetings and that if some travel is good, more travel is better. Well, take it from one who travels often for meetings...some meetings are necessary. Travel, not always.
iAs to the claims of "jobs being lost" by reducing meeting travel, that may be true in the short term, but new jobs will be created to take its place. Jobs will come from companies that make teleconferencing equipment, networking gear that supports those digital signals, software which makes it all work. People will be needed to install and maintain all that equipment. Why? Because meetings will still need to happen even if we don't travel for them. Jobs will be created because we travel less, but are able to meet more.
Instead of traveling more for meetings, imagine traveling less and accomplishing more. In a world with ubiquitous high-speed video conferencing, meetings with customers and vendors located anywhere in the world can happen everyday! Can't do THAT no matter how much one travels. [Permalink]- Traveling for meetings