Where have all the people gone? They must have gone on mute.

When was the last time that you attended a business meeting?

If it was a regional one, chances are pretty good that it was by way of videoconferencing or conference call. But what about a meeting called with some of your business colleagues who are located on different floors? Will that be face-to-face or a conference bridge?

Until the last few years, face-to-face meetings were the norm. Whether with friends, clients, colleagues in the workplace, service providers, and so on, the personal contact was both customary and critical. However, our work ethic is rapidly and dramatically changing. Face-to-face meetings are rapidly becoming a fond memory.

Email and texting have replaced what used to be the traditional meetings and telephone calls. Even calling one another via Ma Bell has become a thing of the past. Let me explain.

Today, email seems to have become the primary manner of communication, at least in my world, and texting follows a close second, particularly those in the 40s and under age group.

Rarely do business business introductions or initial contacts occur through actually calling one another, unless perhaps in the telemarketing world, you know the unrecognizable area codes on call display.

Following up personal referrals and introductions, which used to be by phone, or grabbing a coffee together are being replaced by email introductions accompanied by one’s electronic contact information. Although a phone number might accompany the intro, it’s rare these days that anyone actually makes the call. Particularly, when email is so handy. Think about it. For example, Mary messages you via LinkedIn, requesting an intro to Bill and you’re thrilled to make the intro, and so, you get the picture.

The online marketplace offers a wide range of fairly simple to relatively sophisticated product offerings for electronic meetings and that are readily available; often at little or no cost during a no-cost, 30 day trial period, particularly when exploring their features and functions. And so, these electronic or virtual meeting solutions were designed to replace actual face-to-face ones while substantially cutting back on travel and long-distance charges. A couple of clients that have international manufacturing operations have waxed eloquently about the substantial savings, not only in long-distance charges, but in travel and accommodation expenses. Now, the companies are able to call meetings on a more frequent and cost savings basis.

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