Often cited as easier than face-to-face meetings – and the new norm since the pandemic – virtual meetings have become the go-to way of doing business. But here are four compelling reasons why nothing can compete with meeting in person.
The accessibility of video conferencing has made virtual meetings not just a possibility, but a life-saver for many businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic. While virtual meetings have allowed some semblance of normal business to continue, employees are increasingly craving in-person sessions again. More than just nostalgia for the way things used to be, there are some things technology simply cannot do better. Here’s why face-to-face sessions are here to stay.
Physically being in a room with others builds trust and rapport between individuals far more than is possible using video conferencing technology. From body language to the subtle expressions on people’s faces, there are things you can see when you’re in a room with others that you can’t experience online. When you’re in a room with people, you can also see if their attention is focused on the subject at hand, whereas you can never quite be sure when video conferencing. Simply put, face-to-face interaction builds trust, and people who trust each other work much better together.
Another flaw of video conferencing technology is that it doesn’t allow for neat side conversations between smaller groups, or discussing impromptu ideas that veer slightly from the agenda. It is often these times in a meeting that lead to lightbulb moments and a collective feeling of joint purpose. Being in a meeting room together allows more creativity that can make a real difference to businesses. And it’s much easier for someone to draw a quick diagram on the whiteboard, or to have two-minute discussions in small groups before coming back together again.
Video conferencing calls rarely run without some sort of technical issue. Whether one person’s audio quality dips in and out, another individual’s video keeps freezing, and a third person simply cannot connect…everyone has experienced a video call like this. The constant interruption of less-than-perfect technology diverts attendees’ attention away from the topic of the meeting itself. Not only does this decrease productivity, it also makes virtual meetings frustrating for participants. On the other hand, you know that being in a room with others will allow you the opportunity for some uninterrupted focus.
Particularly for those who require meetings with others to make sales or convince them of a concept, in-person sessions have been proven to gain better results. Building trust and rapport while enjoying natural and uninterrupted conversation form the bedrock of business relationships – and this is most effectively achieved in person. People also like to do business with people they’ve met, so having at least an initial in-person meeting before moving onto to video conferencing for further discussion can make the difference between business success and failure.
There’s a time and a place for virtual meetings – but this principle applies equally to in-person meetings too. While the pandemic pushed the focus onto virtual meetings for a time, businesses want to reclaim some of the human connectivity they’ve lost by hosting face-to-face meetings again. And now venues are making it safe to do so, the benefits are there for the taking.