Are virtual meeting technologies a real threat?

Can virtual meetings ever match up to the real thing?


2 May 2014
The use of virtual meeting, hybrid meeting and webinar technology is up, seemingly threatening the viability of face-to-face meetings and tradeshows. The technology offers exactly what businesses are and should be constantly on the lookout for, a convenience in terms of both time and money.

Despite this, could talking to a screen ever match up to a handshake and a conversation? Could it ever genuinely threaten meetings and tradeshows? While the statistics of virtual meeting embracement may suggest so, meetings and tradeshows continue to provide very good value for your education, networking, and sales budgets, while events offer unparalleled opportunities to bring buyers and sellers together, to build relationships, to brainstorm and to network.

Moreover, thanks to the constant modern-day media barrage of instant information, attention spans are becoming shorter, as short as 10 minutes to be exact. Although webinars are good for short information exchange, meetings offer a now-uniquely immersive and ultimately human learning experience.

The absence of natural social cues in virtual meeting technology gives rise to a new number of problems altogether too, with misinterpretations and misunderstandings easily developing when social cues are absent. Issues can arise with the lack of natural human indication, which signal when your audience is puzzled, lost, interested or bored. A good meeting chairperson will constantly sense the atmosphere in the room and react accordingly. That’s impossible in a virtual meeting.

This ultimately ties in to the technologically-omitted bonding that naturally happens when people meet face-to-face, size each other up, find mutual interests, fall in love etc.

Virtual meeting technology is and should be embraced by as many as possible. The numerous conveniences in which the platform offers speak for itself. Yet this does not and should not mean an end to face-to-face. Use the platform in conjunction with your roadshow, event and meeting requirements, never instead of.
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