We are told that technology usage continues to increase and there are constantly new apps or devices on the market and that’s true but as I type, I am sat on a train to go to a meeting with a client because they want a face-to-face conversation. Now, bear in mind that not all clients are the same (thankfully!) and all have different needs but in the last week, I have had one client say they want more meetings and another say not to worry about face-to-face and we can do all of our meetings via Facetime.
So technology may be on the rise and useful in some cases but it doesn’t take away the need to meet entirely. Similarly, within Mackerel Sky we find that we all need to get together every so often as part of our team connectivity despite the power and capacity of our cloud-based software. It simply is no substitute for getting to know someone, see the whites of their eyes and find the points of shared interest. And this is what’s so important about face to face meetings with clients. We are not just providing a service you see; we are making their ideas a reality and it is vitally important that they trust us. We can’t (yet) build that trust singly via the phone, skype, facetime, email or any other technological connection. Despite all of the technology available to us, we (humans) have that need to connect in person.
We are the project managers for Agile on the Beach (AOTB) which is a business conference exploring agile methodologies (which have grown out of the software development industry). Given that agile grew out of the IT sector, it is fair to assume that the target market for AOTB is highly technologically capable, has a high level of tech awareness and is virtually connected already but this year we have already seen an increase in ticket sales yet again and it’s because AOTB not only fulfils that need to physically meet but that there is a value in the whole experience in terms of learning and engagement. What I mean is that delegates and sponsors for AOTB get more than just a face to face from the event. The experience of the conference provides a common ground for developing business relationships, going beyond email or LinkedIn or a phone call, even for these highly technically capable delegates!
That’s not to say that the tech isn’t important at all – far from it! These delegates expect superfast broadband and easy, reliable wifi access and immediate engagement on Twitter and a parallel online conversation alongside the actual conference activity….it’s this development of the ‘as well as’ rather than ‘instead of’. And this presents a different kind of challenge for running this kind of event with increased logistics and more complex event design whilst still meeting the basic human needs of food, drink, safety etc. I suppose Maslow had it right all along in his hierarchy of needs and technology has yet to make it into being a basic human requirement of life.
On a personal note, I am fascinated by how Facebook and Twitter are evolving and more particularly how we use them is evolving. I find that I using Facebook more as a medium to set up face to face conversations and social engagements than as a status updating/news sharing mechanism. Perhaps this demonstrates that technology whilst increasing can only take us so far and there will always be a human need to actually connect.
Claire Eason Bassett, Managing Director, Mackerel Sky