Our initial goal of the Freedom Tour was to see people. See clients and friends that we haven’t been able to see over the past few months because of COVID. We did not really know what to expect. Would people come out to the tailgates? Are people still so concerned about the virus that they are not comfortable being around other people? There were a lot of unknowns, but this goal far exceeded our expectations. More people came out to our tailgates than we thought, but what surprised me the most was how long they stayed. I am convinced that the people in our country long for human interaction, and after spending months seeing little more than your family on a daily basis, getting out and seeing people outside your immediate circle was wanted, badly.
Coworkers, who had not seen each other in up to 90 days got to reconnect. People who normally work from home, but normally get to see colleagues at conferences, dinners, golf, etc. got to see these people they had not been able to see. People were able to have face to face conversations that they had not been able to have in months.
We did not want the tailgates to end. If we were not on a tight schedule I think people would have stayed until we got kicked out of the parking lots.
Going forward, we may still do more Zoom calls than we used to, but being out on the road reinforced my belief that human interaction is vital to us as a society and is something people long for. It is something that will never go away. Seeing everybody made me want to get out from behind my desk and get out and see people more.
The human aspect of business can not be understated. At the last Open Air conference, in one of the small groups, someone said, “an email has never made a relationship.” I believe this now more than ever. Relationships are made by face to face interaction. Those interactions are something that we have missed, and they are something that we all have a new appreciation for.
Hopefully, we remember this when we are back to normal, and people will put there cellphones down, get out from behind their desks, get off social media, and get out and see people. It is worth it.