De Niro and Telepresence

When you see what someone looks like, when you interact with them, even through Telepresence – you bond with them, you feel connected. You KNOW them and when you know someone, you will be more loyal and productive since you want to make the people you know happy. Telepresence meetings foster a teaming environment.

Don’t believe me? I can prove it.

Have you ever watched a movie or TV show where one of the characters started crying and it made you tear up? You don’t know that person, they are an actor on a screen that you will never meet but the experience is strong. Just by seeing their eyes get cloudy, you connect and feel empathy and it makes you cry too. (Or think about sports for you big strong silent types.)

Why bring that up? Do I want you to have a telepresence meeting and make everyone cry? No, of course not! I just wanted to illustrate that video is indeed a very powerful medium of which you should take full advantage.

What about the classic Robert De Niro film Taxi Driver? Imagine how the iconic line “Are you talking to me?” would come off in email.  It would be hard to interpret without the right inflection.

ARE you talking to me?”


“Are you TALKING to me?”


“Are you talking TO me?”

Each has a very different connotation and it is up to the reader to guess what it means. You have to see De Niro talking to himself in the mirror to get the right delivery…

“Are YOU talking to ME?!”

That is what telepresence does. Rather than guessing what someone means, you can get the right inflection because it is a live delivery.

How many times have you finally met someone after talking to them on the phone and were surprised that they didn’t look or act at all the way you expected.

Telepresence is that personal and effective tool that can help build relationships or at least let you know what the person you have been talking to for 2 years looks like.

What would De Niro do?  Surprisingly, he was unavailable to answer that – but my guess is, because he is a method actor and live interaction is extremely important to him, he would first prefer a live meeting and secondly a telepresence meeting whenever possible.  And email? “Fugget-about-it.”

Why does telepresence really matter when other means of communication are effective? Why should you use your Telepresence room for everyone and not just your big clients?

Because effective communication matters.

More than anything else you do, the way you communicate sets up your future success.

Have a departmental meeting with EVERYONE you interact with at least every quarter each year through telepresence. It can go a long way.

We should be using our telepresence rooms much more often for internal and external calls. If meeting my peers goes a long way to building a successful and productive relationship, then it would also apply to my customers, my suppliers, my vendors, retailers and anyone else in my ecosystem.

Besides, the rooms are already there. Take advantage of them and yes, I AM talking to YOU.

So what about you?  How have you used telepresence to connect with others?  What have you been able to do with telepresence that you couldn’t do with regular email or a phone call?  We look forward to your comments.
Sybil Fitzpatrick Lead Product Marketing Communications AT&T About Sybil