Lesson 016: Power of face-to-face
TV Series: Star Trek - The Next Generation
Season/Episode: 3/11 ('The Hunted')


Capt. Picard is sent to evaluate a new planet for admission into the Federation.

While on site, the Captain is caught in the middle of an internal struggle within the planet's population between interned ex-soldiers and the established government.

Having captured one of the rebel ex-soldiers, Capt. Picard sympathizes with the ex-soldiers cause; however, due to the Federation's Prime Directive, Capt. Picard is forbidden to interfere in the internal policies of a planet, no matter what his personal convictions or feelings.

Capt. Picard approaches the ex-soldier, confined in a security holdings cell on board the Enterprise, to tell the prisoner that there is no recourse except to return him back to the planet's government security forces; however, that he (Capt. Picard) will try to do whatever he can from an official capacity to help the prisoner.

The prisoner expresses his appreciation to the Captain for taking the time to tell him this face to face. Capt. Picard says it's the least he could do for the prisoner.


We should all take note of the very relevant and important method of communication being practiced here.

In our age of texting, IM'ing, emailing, faxing and good old fashioned phone calling, we should never lose sight of the true value of the face to face, in person, dialog or conversation.

Just as our technology allows us to communicate faster and on a much broader scale than ever before, it also dehumanizes and limits our capacity to really connect with another human being.

Today, it is not uncommon to hire and fire, date and break-up, marry and divorce, praise and condemn, all via the stale, impersonal lines of emails and text messages.

We humans (especially managers) need to take that extra step to always maintain our personal, face-to-face contact relationship with our fellow humans (especially staff and customers) whenever possible. While a message conveyed by technology is surely faster, it is the message that is relayed in person which carries the far greater value.

The very small, almost insignificant gesture of relaying a message to the prisoner in person by Capt. Picard is held in high esteem by the prisoner, who is essentially the Captain's foe.

Let's see technology beat that!

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