We’re in an age where technology is thriving and in many cases, people have replaced face-to-face time with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Skype, conference calls, instant messenger and texting (and I’m sure I could add to this list). But as we wrapped up day three of meetings with our partner community in Vancouver, BC I am reminded again of how important face-to-face time is. Building and maintaining relationships “electronically” can only get you so far and at some point, there is tremendous value sitting down across the boardroom table (or the dinner table) with those that are important to you. These people may be your customers, partners, family or friends, but to take your relationship to the next level, I truly believe personal human interaction is critical. I remember when I heard someone say “In a world where things are becoming more high-tech, people need more high-touch”. I couldn’t agree more!

Here are five reasons I believe face-to-face time can’t be beat:

1. Less distraction. When you’re talking on the phone, IM’ing or texting, you can almost guarantee there are a million things going on around whoever you’re conversing with. When you get together in person, the focus on the conversation increases exponentially.

2. Body language. I don’t know about you, but I believe a very small percent of reading reactions and feelings is based on what someone says, and a majority of it is based on their body language. It’s hard to gauge the connection you’re making or whether or not what you’re saying is resonating if you can’t see who you’re talking to.

3. Bonding. At the risk of sounding “cheesy”, I always feel a deeper personal connection with someone I’ve met in person. I’m more likely to refer them or think of them when I have an idea or an opportunity.

4. People do business with people. You likely have a list of people you do business with because of them, not because of the company they work for. Think of a great real estate agent that you’ve worked with. If they changed real estate companies, would you follow the agent or stay with their former company? My guess is you’d follow the agent. Building relationships plays an important role in your long term sustainability and success, so don’t leave all your relationships to be built on technology. Get in front of the people that are VIPs in your life and connect!

5. New ideas. I wish I had stats on how many great, new, innovative ideas are uncovered during a phone meeting versus during a face-to-face meeting – I believe there would be a huge gap between the two. If you want to uncover “the next big thing”, make the time and effort to get some face-to-face meetings happening.

I want to say a special thanks to our Sage Simply Accounting Partner Advisory Committee that made the trip to Vancouver from cities all across Canada this week to spend time connecting face-to-face. Our meetings were successful because of the five points above and it was well worth the investment!