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Also not to be overlooked is the value of getting people away from the daily distractions of the office for a few days, so that they can concentrate fully on the task at hand. When we write grant proposals, we always (unless the budget just forbids it) build in at least a couple of face-to-face work sprints, during which we invariably get more done than at any other time, mainly because we're all in the same time zone, in the same place, and aren't being pulled in a dozen directions.

Virtual meetings are useful, but not nearly as productive.

Hugh

On Aug 28, 2011, at 11:32AM, Martin Mueller wrote:

> This reminds me of the story of Hercules and Antaeus, the giant who gained
> his strength from the earth and who could not be overcome as long as he
> had intermittent contact with it. Hercules defeated him by lifting him off
> the earth altogether and into the "cloud" until he weakened and died.
> 
> My hunch is that human communication benefits from an "Antaeus principle":
> return to the earth or face to face from time to time and more rather than
> less often. Virtual many-to-many communication, whether video chat,
> teleconferencing, or whatever other technology there may, is a dicey
> enterprise even for people who speak the same language unless it is
> grounded in a habit of quite literally staying in touch.
> 
> On 8/28/11 10:00 AM, "Doug Reside" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
>> On Sun, Aug 28, 2011 at 5:50 AM, Peter Boot <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>> For me this is certainly true. Both understanding others and expressing
>>> myself in English is much more difficult in a conference call than in a
>>> face
>>> to face environment.
>> 
>> Does video chat (using Skype or Google+) make this any easier.  Is
>> Google+ usable in Europe yet?
>> 
>> Doug