Malleable Musings

November 6, 2009

Face to face

Filed under: Commuting, International Student Recruitment — Brendan @ 7:13 am

I saw this poster at Heathrow this morning and it struck me as being quite apt (especially because when I first started in my current job a number of people referred to me as the contracts guy).

It should probably come as no surprise that I don’t think of myself in that way.  I think my role is about listening and understanding our staff, our partners, our influencers and most importantly our students and then advocating to, for and with the university’s partners. But this is probably a different story.

I sort of disagree with the statement in this advert, but I do agree with the sentiment.  I’m a great advocate for using technology to allow the face to face communication to happen where possible.  However sometimes you really do need to meet in-person.

And this is why I was quite happy to be at Heathrow this morning at silly o’clock jumping on a flight.  I love travelling as it allows me quiet relatively undisturbed thinking time.  So on the drive down and whilst waiting in the airport I got the opportunity to do a little bit of work.  However I allowed myself to be sidetracked a bit on the flight by a delightful in-flight movie, “Julie & Julia” about a blogger re-creating every recipe from a book by a cook called Julia Child (who is played by a brilliantly over the top Meryl Streep).  I wished I’d given it my full attention and watched it properly as I think it would have been the perfect way to spend  flight and unwind.

It’s going to a busy week, as it’s not just about meetings with our partners.  I’ve also got four days of being a stand bunny both here in Athens and then in Nicosia.  I was hoping to have a bit of time this afternoon to have a quick wander out to see the Acropolis.  I didn’t, as I had to set up our stand this afternoon, send a few emails (that I wrote on the plane) and then attend a British Council briefing session.  I hope I’ll get a bit of time on Sunday morning.

It has been an interesting day for me that’s been full of reflections.  I’d begun to think about a few things and make a few mental notes about the market on the subway journey in to the city centre.

Then, when I went in to the exhibition hall to prepare our stand this afternoon I saw that a Open University in Greece stand was in a prime position.  And then when I got back to my room after the British Council briefing I saw that Brenda Gourley was speaking at #educause09 (quite an interesting hashtag that I’d been following for the past couple of days).   I watched the video for a while and there was quite a lot of interesting stuff, especially I would think for an American audience, who may not be familiar with the Open University.

One of the key issues that I picked up on, was Brenda talking about the need for collaboration with partners for delivery as a survival strategy in the global context.

I’ve heard Brenda speak several times but unfortunately this time I wasn’t able to hear her finish.  It had got to about 8:30pm and neither my colleague or I had eaten since breakfast on our flight in the morning.

However interestingly at dinner my colleague raised the importance of meeting our partners face to face.  His quote was something like, “One meeting is worth a thousand exchanged emails.”  So I showed him the photo I took this morning.  He smiled, said yes that’s it, and it felt like a circle had completed.

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