Do you miss the handshake?
Call me "old school" but I still like and value face-to-face meetings, even when it means a car, air, or rail travel to do it. Even though COVID-19 has greatly reduced business travel, even for me, I miss it desperately. This may seem ironic given how complicated business travel had become over the last decade or so. Over-crowded planes, frequent flight cancellations, crammed roadways filled with road ragers, and trains as reliable as a weather forecaster's forecast always made it a pretty miserable experience, but, I still miss it.
Perhaps you are wondering why. In virtually every face-to-face meeting I have had in my career something new, unexpected, and positive emerged from that exchange. I cannot say the same for phone calls, text messages, or video meetings. I am reminded of one of my favorite all-time television commercials which are so dated that email isn't even mentioned!
None of us know when "normal" business travel will return because of the pandemic and in the interim, we're trying to make do with Teams and Zoom video meetings. While they work, something is missing, and I don't only mean sharing a meal and getting to know one another better on a personal level but also discussing business in a non-business and more relaxed setting.
What I know with absolute certainty is that we humans need human interaction and that's means face-to-face, even with social distancing. Will it be awkward meeting with people 6' apart? Yes, but fortunately things like conference room tables and outdoor dining will come in handy.
My point today is pretty simple. While everyone should be mindful of the realities of COVID-19 we cannot and must not live under a rock. Business is a full-on in-person experience and we cannot forget that. Yes, be responsible but don't be a hermit as otherwise, your competitors will eat your lunch!