Virtual vs face-to-face meetings

Virtual meetings have been essential to keeping us connected over the last few years but have we become too dependent on them?

Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other means of video conferencing have provided us with a lifeline, but are we missing out on the benefits of face-to-face encounters and the finer nuances of communication that can only be achieved in-person?

We take a look at the pros and cons of virtual and in-person meetings

Virtual meetingsPros

Virtual meetings are a great option when there is a large distance to travel between participants or when it’s hard to get all parties together frequently. You are able to collaborate easily on projects and travel time and costs are significantly reduced. Instead, time saved can be used more productively in other areas of work.

If you need to arrange a last minute meeting quickly and effectively, then a virtual meeting is the way to go. Platforms, such as Zoom are widely used, meaning employees can work remotely and connect effortlessly through their smart-phones. Meetings can also be recorded and if you need to recap and go over some notes you can do so easily.

Virtual meeting – Cons

Internet connectivity issues can occur at any given time, which means these platforms aren’t always the most reliable methods of communication. Interruptions can happen frequently, rarely through no fault of your own.

Holding workshops and conferences that last a whole day can be difficult – activities planned would normally involve a lot of group work with your delegates moving and interacting with those present.

Sensitive meetings with employees should almost always be held face-to-face, this includes matters such as grievances, disciplinary and any other sensitive one-to-one human resources topics.

Face-to-face meetingsPros

Body language sets the tone. Although we may be able to see most of our Zoom participants’ bodies, we are not seeing the full picture. You are only able to see their top half, this may not give away much as they would when you have physical presence. We express ourselves much more than our words and physical meetings are able to portray this.

Business Meeting

Face-to-face meetings can be more proactive; we are able to stand whilst delivering a presentation, we are able to access meeting room facilities such as white boards, notepads, pens and any other props available to facilitate the meeting much more effectively in real time.

It makes a difference when meeting a candidate in the early, formative stages of the relationship; face-to-face meetings are more interactive, dynamic and powerful.

Face-to-face meetings – Cons

Even a couple of meetings a day could take up a good deal of you time, once travel is factored in. When attending a meeting overseas, flights, accommodation and other transport means would need to be purchased for all delegates, which if done frequently can be costly and inefficient use of company time, not to mention the carbon footprint of such activities.

Face-to-face meetings are perhaps the most traditional and preferred method to host a meeting but there are times where virtual meetings are a necessity and it is vital that businesses are prepared to use these platforms.

Whatever the case, there are no substitutes for the connections and relationships in-person meetings can yield. Companies should be flexible, using their goals to direct their choice of communication. &Meetings offers the best of both worlds with meeting rooms fully equipped with video conferencing facilities, free tea, coffee and biscuits, and additional mouth-watering catering options.

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