Wednesday, May 06, 2009

President Obama Isn't Brokering World Peace on SKYPE

Whether the goals are saving money or avoiding scrutiny, there is much talk of conducting virtual meetings as an alternative to destination meetings. While technology has greatly helped individuals, organizations and companies stay in touch faster, it still does not and most likely never will replace the value of doing business in a face-to-face setting.

Everyone in the meetings industry is well aware of the criticism launched by Members of Congress over companies who choose attractive destinations for important meetings, team-building and incentive travel. But the last time we checked, they weren't receiving testimony on TARP over email and often, Congressional hearings go on the road into specific Member's districts to get the face-to-face expertise of Americans.

And just today, President Obama will be meeting at the White House with the leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan in an effort to stabilize both governments, prevent more terrorist attacks, and in the case of Pakistan, safeguard its nuclear weapons. Important meetings like this aren't taking place in the virtual world and while it's true that President Obama loves his Blackberry, were guessing he won't be handing each world leader one as a primary tool for future contact.

We see the future of virtual meetings as a complimentary component to face-to-face business. More destination meetings here in New York have become more content-driven than ever and the resulting value of these personal interactions is then leading to even more frequent communication over the Internet. But business cannot have one without the other.

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