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Why Face-to-Face Meetings are Essential in Business

Million Mile Tracker

When we left ‘Million Mile Man’ Eugene Gerstein last, he was eagerly awaiting his next trip after just receiving the new LAT_56 2-Wheel Road Warrior Suitcase “I want to go somewhere now!” he said. Eugene, an entrepreneur and globetrotter, has logged over 1.2 million travel miles so far and his adventures, it seems, have only just begun…

Since his last feature on The Latitude Magazine, Eugene has indeed had the opportunity to travel. He recently visited his 50th country, Colombia, which is his new favourite place in South America. “I love the combination of old world Europe and colonial Latin America, the vibrancy, the vibe, the partying on a Tuesday.”

For those who haven’t yet read the first instalment, Eugene Gerstein is a million mile business traveller, adventuring across the planet to audit airports and work on infrastructure investments and development.

Eugene’s approach to business meetings mean he’s all about the in-person moments. “You can only do my job face-to-face,” Eugene explains. Virtual exchanges just don’t work.

“I meet with senior government officials, and it’s all about body language, about the strength of a handshake.”

A dead fish handshake will immediately make Eugene wary, while being assertive and having a presence are central to pulling off successful negotiations.

It’s apparent that face-to-face meetings are by far the most powerful way to establish a connection and conduct business. Not too long ago – shortly after the 2008 recession – it was thought that business travel could be on the way out.  After all, there was Skype and video conferencing – people assumed there was no longer any need to travel across the world to finalise a deal. However, as Eugene highlights, there’s more to negotiations than just talk. How can you test the strength of a handshake or negotiate effectively over a conference call?

LAT_56 Founder Kevin Fox agrees. “As a brand and a company, face-to-face meetings have been essential for establishing our own infrastructure and for growth on a global scale. Even just putting a face to an email helps.”

“Where possible I will always try to meet business associates in person. Once, I flew from Scotland to the Far East for a 2-hour meeting and then flew straight back to Scotland. I was exhausted by the end of it all, but it was critical for our business and meeting in person showed how much the relationship mattered to the other party. It broke the deadlock and gained respect.”

“I have also found that different cultures respond in different ways to face-to-face meetings. For example, in the Middle East it’s particularly important to have a coffee with someone before starting a business relationship.”

For someone who is all about presence, it’s telling that Eugene’s go-to travel brand is LAT_56. The 2-wheel Road Warrior Suitcase that he couldn’t wait to travel with has lived up to expectations. It’s his favourite suitcase, especially as it contains the SPS™ Suit Packing System, which allows him to roll his suit crease-free.

“It helps with daily life and makes travelling so much easier.”

Apart from the 2-Wheeler and the BC_01 Briefcase, Eugene also owns the 8-Wheeler carry-on, which his wife has been using on her trips. He commends the RW_02’s wheels and smooth rolling action. He says that having both the Road Warrior and the briefcase together at the airport makes his life easier due to the BC_01’s smart sleeve, which allows the bag to easily slide over the handles of his Road Warrior and stay secure.

Eugene is itching to get back on the road and crank back up his travel schedule. Where next for ‘Million Mile Man’? Wherever it is, there’s no place on earth where a face-to-face meeting wouldn’t prove beneficial.

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