Making time for face time

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IT’S good to talk.

The fact that the strapline to BT’s mid-90s advertising campaign has stuck in my mind so long is perhaps an indicator of the strength of the message.

The way we use our phones has changed dramatically since Bob Hoskins was the face of the telecoms giant, but the sentiment behind the message still rings true. While we’re now more likely to pick up the phone to text, email or tweet, there are some things that are perhaps better communicated verbally.

The onset of conference calling and the ability to video call, makes it much easier for people in multiple locations to discuss things, but sometimes nothing quite beats meeting up.

When I worked as a journalist we had daily meetings to discuss the day’s news agenda. Essentially these would be a quick catch up each morning to coordinate who was covering which stories. In fact they were so quick we didn’t bother sitting down. Whereas some of the local authority meetings we would report on could last for hours and hours.

Research by a videoconferencing company suggests that 80% of UK workers spend up to seven weeks a year in “pointless” meetings and many of them are unnecessary and a waste time in terms of productivity.

The value of meetings is difficult to quantify and sometimes we can spend more time traveling there and back than actually attending. But the hours spent on motorways needn’t be wasted. They can help gather your thoughts and focus on what will be or has been discussed.

At Active PR we have regular team meetings where we can brainstorm ideas and share best practice. Being able to bounce ideas off one another is an important part of the creative process and can help develop a stronger campaign than working in isolation.

Meetings are also where we receive most of our client briefs. They provide a forum where we can find out their priorities and agree where we need to focus our activities to complement the client’s marketing campaigns and help them reach their targets.

So, sometimes it really is good to talk – in person.