Thanks to advances in technology, it’s no longer necessary to have everyone in the same place to have a pow-wow. Online meetings are generally cheaper, save time and reduce your carbon footprint. However, there are times when a virtual meeting just won’t do.
A study commissioned by Radisson Blu found that 65% of workers still think face-to-face meetings are more productive than conference calls.
But both can work well in certain situations.
When face-to-face meetings are best
Handling sensitive issues
Discussions relating to HR matters such as grievances, disciplinary action, performance reviews and one-to-one meetings with employees should almost always be conducted in a private setting, especially if they involve making difficult decisions.
Face-to-face meetings should also be used to resolve conflicts between staff members.
To gauge reaction
If you’ve got an important announcement to make, or a big issue to discuss, a face-to-face meeting makes it easier to gauge the reaction of the room. Recognising body language and gestures can help you adapt quickly to the situation. Non-verbal signs let you know if the other attendees understand the points you’re making.
Meeting people face-to-face is a good way of forging working relationships and helping to strengthen teamwork. They give you the opportunity to bond with the other participants before, during and after the meeting. This builds trust, which is essential in any successful working relationship.
Virtual meetings do not offer the same form of personal interaction, making it harder to make a connection.
Giving a presentation
If a meeting involves a presentation, demonstration or brainstorming session using a whiteboard, inviting some participants to a conference call is unlikely to go well. They won’t have a clue what’s going on if they can’t see the props that are being referred to.
When video link meetings are best
To cut down on travel
If there is a long distance between you and the people you’re meeting, virtual conferences are an excellent way to save time and money.
Transport and accommodation costs can soon mount up if you and your managers regularly travel a long way on business, and the time taken to get from A to B can have a big impact on employee productivity, not to mention the company’s carbon footprint.
Dealing with urgent issues
When people in different locations need to arrange a meeting at short notice, online meetings are quick and easy to organise compared with face-to-face meetings.
With communications technology, you can quickly check the availability of other potential participants and set up a web conference. This gives you the flexibility to deal with urgent issues quickly and maintain the flow of important projects.
Getting your whole team involved
In most offices, not everyone is in at the same time. Someone could be travelling, while others may be working from home.
Having important meetings without key people can leave them feeling out of the loop and result in crossed wires. A virtual meeting enables your whole team to attend, and you can be sure your message is consistent across the board.
Posted by Ashleigh Sharp
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