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We wake up, we check our phones; the monotony of the first 5 minutes of a day as experienced by the majority of millennials settling in. Likes, tweets, Instagram updates and emails pile into our minds, communications received through the cloud of information forever looming around us. For most of us, this is how our social and even professional relationships are developed and maintained. But in this day and age where communication is quite literally at our fingertips, is screen to screen really the best way to maintain our professional relations?
Working in a contract recruitment environment, every day is fast paced – from picking up the phone and speaking to candidates in my network, updating them on the opportunities available in the market; whilst simultaneously speaking to clients and suggesting possible contractors with the right skillsets for their needs. A common question asked in the recruitment world to clients is: “ideally when do you need someone to start?” to which the popular response tends to be: “yesterday”. In such a fast paced business environment where decisions need to be made quickly and people need results, no one would begrudge us staying in our office and communicating with everyone through purely virtual means. However, I am here making the case to bring back the coffee meeting!
I should say, this is not a blog about me wanting to leave the office more often in search of a change of scenery and a double shot cappuccino. It’s common knowledge that we pick up on certain cues when speaking to someone who’s in front of us; things like facial expressions, body language and tone of voice all tell a story of how a conversation is going. One study conducted for a Global hotel chain on the importance of face-to-face business meetings showed that 77% of people believe that offsite meetings are a necessity not a luxury; 85% believe face-to-face meetings are more likely to result in breakthrough thinking; and 82% believe that meetings bring out the best in people.
Of course if we spent all of our time on the tube going from meeting to meeting across London, we would surely fall behind our competitors. Although our MD tells us stories from days gone past, when he used to fax or post candidate CV’s to clients, recruitment is now a 21st century profession thriving off 21st century amenities. From my experience, where meetings have shown their ultimate value is in kindling new relationships. New clients, new candidates, that first meeting sets the tone for relationship and helps both parties to better understand and appreciate how one another currently works and how best to work together.
Whether you’re a contract recruiter, a hiring manager or a candidate in any market looking for new opportunities, always appreciate the value of taking the time out of your day to meet that new business contact. Who knows what doors your next coffee meeting could open up!