I just flew 5,300 miles to have one in-person meeting, and it was worth it.
Why? In-person is better.
- I got a tour of the company office. This was a chance for me to see their impressive setup (his design), which changed the entire tone of the conversation. It was important for him to establish the high standards that he keeps, and for me to show my appreciation for it.
- We communicated nonverbally. Every physical action is worth a thousand words. Who opens the door? Who takes the lead down the staircase? Who reaches for the check at lunch?
- We could go off record. A video call can incentivize us to use our radio voice, which in turn filters out the less polished trains of thought. And it's the random, unfiltered thoughts which lead to positive, unexpected outcomes.
- It will last longer. A "Zoom" friend is cheap. An in-person friend is valuable, and harder to forget. In his mind I'm now the tall guy with messy black hair and a serious face and skinny jeans—not some pixelated face with a 500-millisecond delay. The relationship is significantly stronger.
Until VR technology catches up, I'm long in-person.