Virtuality and options

The business world is getting smaller. More and more companies work globally one way or the other and have staff working together across the world. We talk about multicultural teams and virtual teams.

Training is done via e-learning, virtual classrooms, webex and video conferences, blogs and different variations of blended learning. (I have been “bombarded” with webinars and trainings offered on this subject the last few months.)

Coaches work with clients via phone and videoconference. Having a coach in the same country, same city, isn’t longer necessary with the new technology. Personally I have clients across three continents.

Families and friends connect from one end of the planet to the other. The distance feels smaller, they can chat, email, phone, see pictures on Facebook and videos on YouTube, and talk and see each other live on Skype.

If you think back 10 years, life has really changed, hasn’t it? New technology – lots of it free and available for most – has really made a strong impact on how we live our lives. We are connected and updated instantly (e.g via Twitter). “Distance” doesn’t have the same meaning anymore.

And yet, I’ve been in some discussions lately where people say “I still prefer to see my colleague in the office, I still prefer to have a coach in front of me”. We are social beings; some more, some less. Some training is best done face-to-face, some training is best done individually and in your own speed. Meeting people on phone and video is effective and saves time, but in conflict situations you are more likely to solve the issue quicker if you can get together. Coaching in person or via video allows you to see the body language (but on video you can’t touch), coaching over the phone allows you to really hear the person – both versions are effective. Keeping in touch with family and friends via Skype brings them closer in a way and you are more up to speed about what is going on in their lives, but it’s still wonderful to meet in person.

Virtuality presents more options and flexibility, it doesn’t take away the need to meet other people in flesh and blood sometimes.

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