Webinars are great, but face-to-face meetings are better…

I travel a lot but truth be told, I’m rather a bit of a home body: I like where I live, I like hanging out with my kids, and I have a ton of great friends. Heck, I live in a place where tons of people come on vacation (Boulder, Colorado), and the fact that I can sit in my office and have virtual meetings with colleagues via video, webinars, and teleconferences is pretty cool.
But it’s not really the same, and I know that every time I fire up GoToMeeting, jump onto Skype or log in to Calliflower (yeah, that’s its name). Like it or not, I believe it’ll always be the case that to be successful in business you need to get out of your office, get out of your house and neighborhood, and meet people face-to-face. The more important the deal, or the more you’re “fishing for opportunities”, the more important it is.
I’ve written in the past about how attending conferences is all about the social, not the presentation (even though I’m a professional speaker). Certainly when I travel now, I try to use Twitter, Facebook or something else to arrange for some meetings with local businesspeople both to socialize and to see what possible business connections I can make.
That’s why when online marketing firm Izea contact me about an opportunity to help promote the British Airways “Business Opportunity Grants” program, I was intrigued and willing. Yes, that means that this is indeed a sponsored post on my blog, but please, read on…
Basically, British Airways is trying to combat the business meme of “with teleconferencing you never have to get on a plane again”, for obvious reasons: they’re an airline, teleconferences aren’t so good for their business. However, as I’ve said, I already know that they’re right and that while many meetings can indeed be held digitally, there are also a lot of meetings that go far, far better if you can look someone in the [real, not virtual] eye and really assess them and whether the deal will be a success.
BA’s idea is that to promote face-to-face meetings, they’re holding a contest and have a very sweet prize: their Business Opportunity Grant will cover an entire year of business class travel and access to a suite of business services both. More specifically:

  • British Airways airfare for 10 round-trip Club World business class flights.
  • 5 free British Airways World Cargo freight shipments of up to 500 kilos to worldwide destinations
  • $1000 toward accommodation at Courtyard by Marriott
  • 5 Regus Businessworld Gold Cards providing access to business lounges worldwide
  • A Canon PIXMA MX860 Wireless Office All-In-One Printer

I mean, that’s a pretty sweet deal, and they’re giving away 100 of them, not just one, so I encourage you to go apply before 1 October, 2009 when the contest ends. You might not win, but if you do, it’ll sure help your business and you might just find that those old fashioned face-to-face meetings are useful after all.
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