The Way of the Horse?

Given time and retrospection, this quote has been rendered ludicrous and laughable. But when uttered more than 100 years ago, it represented a sentiment of the times.

Which got me to wondering: What is our horse-is-here-to-stay reality?

How about in-person meetings?

We know that when done well, our work is relational, not transactional. And forming strong working relationships relies on in-person interaction.

But is in-person interaction being redefined right before our very eyes?

In our fifth month of the pandemic, video meetings are ever-present in our daily work and more accepted by those we aspire to meet. As a consultant who has prescribed in-person meetings to complete campaign readiness study interviews for client institutions, I just completed an entire study through virtual meetings — something our firm would have never considered just six months ago. And the conversations were just as rich as they would have been in person.

A recent Forbes article spotlights a shift some companies are already making to a “distributed work environment” (i.e., work from home) and points to recent buying sprees in vacation hotspots such as The Hamptons and Lake Tahoe as a response to the new normal of how and where we work.

So are virtual meetings simply a fad borne out of the necessity of the moment? Or are they here to stay?

I contend they’re here to stay. And as Advancement professionals reliant upon face-to-face interaction as key to our work success, we need to begin shifting our mindset, our work environment, and our approach, now.

Sure, in-person meetings will still be the gold standard when life returns to normal. But for some who we aspire to meet, the in-person meeting may have already gone the way of the horse.

In future posts, I’ll offer ideas on how we can improve our work environment to enhance our video meeting experience, and how we can improve our chances of getting virtual meetings on the calendar of those we aspire to meet.


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