This summer, a life ago, I was with my girlfriend in Bilbao. As we were trying to find our way back to our hotel, we bumped into someone that could finally help us. Of course he only could speak Spanish. Of course, none of us could. Anyway by dancing and singing we could make our point. When he took the lead, he could explain us where to go as he could. Quite surprisingly, we understood each other easily without a word in common.
We generally hear that 50 to 80% of human communication is non verbal. When you’re abroad, it can go up to 100%. And you can still understand each other about simple things. You generally don’t believe this until you can experience it. So it is quite complicated to explain to people who don’t [want to] believe you that a conf call is not enough. OK, you can still say that your brain needs to work a lot more to make up missing aspects when you don’t face the people you’re talking with, which makes you dangerous when driving with a phone. Everybody already experienced this. That’s not much compared to the price difference between a conf call and plane tickets, but who knows. If someone has a good game or argument to suggest, please don’t hesitate.
In the meantime, yes, encourage face to face meetings, eat and drink with your peers, try decreasing the number of your emails and phone calls, have fun! I’ll also try to make my posts shorter and save my time to talk with you face to face.