With the beginning of March 2020, businesses and organizations across the globe had to confront an enormously unusual situation – a deadly pandemic. Teams in every industry and field shifted (almost overnight) to the video conferencing technology in order to stay in touch, exchange information, dialogue and collaborate. Companies like Zoom or Microsoft Teams reported massive growth of revenue.
But, in spite of the apparent success of our digital meetings, we might already see that they don’t stand as an ideal solution. The most important business deals, long-term client relationships and even team building need the interpersonal trust and mutual understanding that only in-person meetings can guarantee. Virtual meetings can’t be a proper substitute for real, personal interactions.
In this article, we discuss with you a few reasons why face to face meetings are not totally over.
They allow you to build stronger relations
As humans, we naturally want to meet and interact with people we are doing business with. Especially at the beginning of a client relationship, when the trust has not been yet established. When it comes to this, face to face meetings are crucial. Meeting in person demonstrates that you value clients’ time and business. If you can go to the effort of getting smartly dressed and driving across the country for a meeting, you are clearly a dedicated and motivated individual.
It also shows the client that they are important to you and the meeting topic is worth valuable time. The client will feel that they have connected with you better if you meet them in person than over communication via email/phone. The personal attention you are showing your clients proves that you actively listen to them, therefore it helps to build stronger relationships. What’s more, being able to shake hands with a person has a profound effect on this cultivation of trust.
They allow you to improve focus
New technologies are great and nobody can deny that. However, we can all admit that we are usually less focused during a virtual meeting than a face to face one. During a virtual meeting attendees are not fully concentrating on the meeting topic and getting easily distracted. They also tend to multi-task throughout the meeting, and this includes replying to emails or continuing with their projects. During a regular, face to face meeting, scrolling through social media or checking private messages would be considered as extremely rude. People tend to engage more in face to face meetings because there isn’t that opportunity to do anything else, meaning that in-person meetings are still relevant and important, even in today’s world of technology.
They allow you to define goals clearer
Another reason why face to face meetings are so important is that it is much easier to communicate goals and objectives. This is because we can easily read facial expressions and body language. The conversations we have in person are often deemed to be more credible and beneficial than those done via technology.
With face to face meetings, the conversation is usually more to the point meaning that it flows in a more natural way. This allows us to be clearer with our objectives, come up with more ideas and lead to more opportunities for business reasons.
They allow you to increase productivity and efficiency
We have all been stuck in a meeting that has been a total waste of time – that’s for sure. But properly organized face to face meetings are actually more productive than a video conference, a phone call or email correspondence. Virtual meetings are obviously more convenient, but they can also be more awkward. It is more difficult to mind map ideas within the company and have in-depth discussions. A large number of people also confess that they browse text messages or social media profiles while on the virtual meeting to pass the time. Face to face communication means that the temptation of checking your phone is eliminated.