The owner of the New Jersey-based Dental Sleep Masters Seminar Instructor, Dr. Avi Weisfogel founder has an extensive background in sleep treatment and sleep disorders. As owner of Dental Sleep Masters, Dr. Avi Weisfogel draws on an in-depth knowledge of sleep apnea. Avi Weisfogel uses this information to help dentists identify potential patients and to help patients secure the treatment that they need.
Technology makes it easy to maintain contact from a distance. From document sharing to video conference calls, we’ve managed to bypass face-to-face meetings in favor of cost-cutting measures. But is this approach undermining our businesses in the name of saving a few dollars?
As anyone whose email has been misconstrued by colleagues or clients knows, it can be difficult to consistently convey the right tone in business messages — especially when we’re rushed. The wrong punctuation can make a no-nonsense email come across as abrupt or even rude. Similarly, phone communications can be misinterpreted due to a monotone voice or even a sigh heaved at the wrong point in a meeting.
The social demands of face-to-face meetings disappear in the context of conference calls. When we aren’t required to make eye contact, we lack incentive to stay visibly engaged. From sneaking glances at our phones to simply glazing over on occasion, it can be easy to become distracted. Even video calls and FaceTime leave us susceptible to the occasional distraction in the case of larger meetings where not everyone is on camera at all times.
It isn’t just distractions that detract from the value of long-distance meetings. The simple nature of the medium is a little on the cold side. It can be difficult to connect in any meaningful way when your client is sitting across the country — or even across the globe. Trying to be persuasive is even harder when you can’t read body language or pick up on certain other social cues.
While it isn’t completely impossible to have successful meetings without talking in person, distance is often a major barrier. While age can make a difference in terms of comfort with technology, even the youngest among us can struggle to completely engage via electronic-only connections. Dr. Weisfogel states, “you can’t put a price on the human connection.” Meeting that person we normally speak with only by phone strengthens our professional connection and provides a richer context. Future dealings become more meaningful and have more impact.
Understanding the Process
If your business is based on a product manufactured at another location, it’s incredibly helpful to understand how it all comes together. Similarly, salespeople and other key players outside the manufacturing realm can benefit from seeing the nuts-and-bolts aspects of the process firsthand. Discovering what goes into the production of an item or seeing its real-world applications creates a deeper understanding of the product and the people who bring it to life.
Weisfogel knows that being on the road also gives you unexpected networking opportunities. Striking up conversations with fellow business travelers can lead to new customers, suppliers and other resources. And the man in the Hawaiian shirt sitting next to you may turn out to be an invaluable connection in the business world. These are links you just can’t make while sitting behind a desk.
A business trip can provide a return on investment in other ways. If our work is creative in nature, we might find inspiration in an unfamiliar landscape or the culture of a different city. If our role relates to production, engineering or logistics, we could unexpectedly discover a new way of doing things simply through exposure to a new perspective. In the same way that travel broadens our perspectives on a personal level, it can open up new worlds for the business person.
Avi Weisfogel knows the importance of leadership, he established Old Bridge Dental Care, his dental practice, in 1999 and managed the office for more than 15 years. “Employees respect leaders who maintain visibility”, Avi says, “showing up at a store, office or plant shows that those in leadership roles are concerned about day-to-day operations and the people who make them happen.” In some corporate cultures, it allows workers to provide invaluable feedback directly to those in charge. These exchanges go a long way toward building a rich company culture where employees feel valued and empowered. While incentive programs are helpful when it comes to employee retention, empowerment and inclusion help build an atmosphere in which workers thrive and produce at high levels.
Whether we’re considering client-facing business travel or a business trip of the internal variety, the returns can be impressive. We may not see an immediate rise in profits that can be attributed to a specific journey. The results are likely to be longer-term and more powerful. While it can be tempting to look first at the bottom line, basing the decision to allocate more of our budget to business travel on the big picture is a smart one.