Face to Face or Virtual?

Are virtual meetings any match for the real thing?

17 June 2020
The use of the virtual meeting has ‘obviously’ increased but is this a threat to the viability of face-to-face meetings?
We are all very aware that during the pandemic virtual meetings have become a necessity and with improving technology have offered exactly what businesses need to continue functioning remotely.
However, is it enough, and could it ever replace meeting face to face, that familiar handshake and the ability to talk freely goes a long way to building and retaining relationships.
Being able to engage with clients, suppliers and colleagues at the press of a button is mightily convenient too, so which is best?
Why ‘Face to Face’ meetings may be your ideal choice:
  • The all-important ‘first impression’, being free to mingle, read body language and clearly conveyed discussions help reduce miscommunication
  •  Non-verbal communication is easily spotted when subjects are discussed 
  • Easier for all attendees to contribute
  • Attendee’s concentration is in the room and they are giving the meeting their full attention
  • Solving problems face to face has more impact than through a screen and the effort is always appreciated
  • Easily spot signals and sense the atmosphere when your audience is puzzled or lost, allowing a chairperson to react accordingly, this is ‘virtually’ impossible electronically
  • Bonding naturally happens when people meet in person, size each other up and find shared interests
  • Less distractions, no email alerts, background noise, phones or children to distract attendees!
  • Direct communication offers an immersive and ultimately human experience
Why ‘Virtual’ meetings may be your ideal choice:
  • Being able to communicate to all staff, suppliers and clients, wherever they may be in the world, on whatever device they have
  • Reduced costs due to minimal travel requirements
  • Time saved on travel and expense claims
  • Lowers your carbon footprint
  • Inviting experts from different regions or countries for important discussions
  • Training allowing the attendee to focus on the presenter
  • Useful for holding initial interviews and sourcing prospective candidates in far to reach locations, reducing costs in the hiring process.
Both types of meetings have their advantages and disadvantages which is why both should be considered and made use of.

When deciding on a meeting type think about the outcome you expect from it, will a quick virtual catchup suffice allowing for unlimited and sometime unobtainable attendees,
or is an in depth face to face get together required, paramount when  building new business relationships, presenting new projects or that all important completion handshake.
Using a blended approach smartly throughout your business means you’ll receive the best attributes from both modes.
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