Yesterday, I had the absolute pleasure of sharing a malt-beverage or two with Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz, who were in the neighborhood for The New Communications Forum. (By the by, the Bombay Bomber IPA...delish.)
Neville and I had traded a few emails in the past few months, and I noticed on his blog that he was in from Amsterdam for a couple of days for the NCF conference. Shel and Neville have known each other for a decade. Two quick emails and 12 hours later, the three of us were shooting the breeze in person, without any of the typical awkwardness that comes when people meet for the first time. We already knew each other. It just so happened that, prior to yesterday, we'd never been on the same continent at the same time.
Reason #6537 why business folk should write, podcast, or otherwise communicate often, and in their own voice: your customers, vendors, and partners get to know you before they even meet you, so when you do get together, you already have shared context and can get things done 10x faster than you ever have in the past.