Building relationships: You can’t high five in the cloud.

Last week I was over in San Francisco for work. My brother commented that it was interesting that a company which is all about enabling online connections and collaboration still flies us across the world for real in-person trainings with our US based colleagues.

He thought that we should be able to gain the same experience using online tools as we would receive face-to-face. In a way, I guess he was right. We should be able to. But even with all the awesome tools now available we can’t.

There is an honest freedom in the connection associated with invaluable face-to-face communication.

The subtleties of body language and the recognition and understanding that can not occur through Skype, Go To Meeting, or email are imperative to building a relationship. Sure there are lots of ways that technology has enabled these new communication mediums to replace excess meetings and create efficiencies of collaboratively working across time zones.

But to build actual relationships we still need some real-life human connections which can only occur the old fashioned way.

And we need these both at work and in our personal life.

A good friend of mine recently moved across the world. We try to Skype regularly, comment on Facebook photos and follow each other on twitter. But it aint the same.

She wrote a great blog post recently about relationships and how they are an essential part of staying healthy – for both our mental and our physical well-being. That these real life interactions have a direct effect on our overall health. Something that does not occur via the typed or projected kind of communication.

Healthy people make better friends and better employees.

To be healthy in both your professional and your personal life you need strong, honest, and real relationships. These can then be reinforced and developed through online communication, but without the real-life interactions they become stale and hollow.

As an organisation that lives in the cloud I think it is fantastic that my work still values the true importance of building these real relationships. Because of this I can communicate online with ease and familiarity building on the foundations established face-to-face.

Technology and the cloud is changing the way we interact and communicate. But you can’t shake hands, drink a beer or high five up there. That’s what keeps you healthy and is how all the best relationships are solidified right…?