Why You Need More Face Time

“He favors Tad.”

I know, it’s rude, but sometimes I can’t help but listen in on the conversation next to me. I’m at Reagan National Airport, in an airline lounge, and the guy next to me is on the phone with Steve.

“I know you want Will in the position, but let’s face it: he favors Tad. Tad is in the office a lot more often.”

Face time. As we continue to move towards a distributed work environment, the issue of face time becomes increasingly important. Out of sight is too often out of mind. Tad appears more likely to get a promotion because he’s getting more face time.

I try not to listen more. But I can’t help myself. “When Tad is in the U.S., he just gets more time in the office.”

Wow. Mr. Face Time Tad doesn’t even work in the U.S., or so it would seem. But apparently he uses his time in the States strategically.

The dirty little secret of business is that it’s all done on relationships. If you have limited opportunities for face time, try to remember Tad. Check in with people. Use a richer medium at times. Make connections when you have the opportunity to do so.

For example, if you’re visiting an office, consider ahead of time who you want to interact with. In Robert Cialdini’s classic book Influence, he relates how frequent interactions under positive circumstances increase your influence. This is particularly important if you are seeking to improve a relationship with someone you have infrequent contact under stressful or combative circumstances.

Think that your performance speaks for itself? Ask Steve on the other end of this phone conversation about that.

Tad still had to deliver stellar performance. But he’s found a way to combine that with trusting relationships and it sounds like it will pay off for him. Good for you, Tad.

I would thank the guy next to me for the lesson but the lounge television is running a story on NSA spying. I chuckle at the irony before turning my attention away.

If you’d like more insights on working in a distributed environment, check out my interview with Scott Berkun regarding his book The Year Without Pants: WordPress.com and the Future of Work.


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