To quote Steve Jobs “There’s a temptation in our networked age to think that ideas can be developed by email and video chat. That’s crazy. Creativity comes from spontaneous meetings, from random discussions”.
So with that in mind should we continue to maximise online platforms for meetings even once the pandemic is over?
As an IT Company we, of course, are extremely comfortable with using virtual online platforms to run meetings and training. We provide expert IT advice and support to develop conference rooms so that businesses can run professional online meetings in conjunction with face to face.
However, we have always been advocates for face to face meetings to support and build the relationship with our clients. We attend client sites as standard to proactively plan and discuss their IT requirements for their business or to design infrastructure. We have also continued throughout the pandemic to attend business premises in an emergency if we were required to do so.
So with businesses hailing this new era of running part/whole companies at home and online, lets have a look at the pro’s and con’s of both.
The pro’s of Online
- It is a challenge in today’s busy world to have everyone that you require available in a face to face to meeting. Online can ensure that everyone, no matter where they are in the world can meet. This increases attendance and can save money, time and in turn lead to a more productive day. It can also increase your geographic area for business.
- Digitally sharing information is easier
- Flexibility of being able to connect in and out of the meeting as required
- Every business wants to manage their financial situation closely and if you can save money in the process by simple measures such as not paying for a meeting room, beverages, food, utilities and travel than even better.
- You can easily record the meeting and play back as required ensuring that nothing is missed
- Tighter and more organised meetings with less small talk
- No personal contact with people
- Requires good equipment, connectivity and IT Literacy
- Unable to interpret body language or tone easily
- Can be vulnerable to Cyber Security issues
- Time differences
- Jagged meeting flow if there are connection delays
- Distractions at home and loss of attention such as social media
The pro’s of face to face meetings
- Meeting your client in person can demonstrate that you value their time and business.
- You can demonstrate your dedication and motivation as an individual.
- You can read facial expressions and body language more easily and people tend to be more positive in person. We take notice of 7% words, 38% inflection and 55% facial expressions
- Increased productivity and creative ideas. On average, an in-person meeting generates about 13.36 ideas versus a virtual meeting, which generates 10.43. (https://www.greatbusinessschools.org/networking/)
- You are able to maintain the attention of the attendees. 69% of people admitted to browsing social media to pass the time during video conference calls. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/238058
- Costs of facilitating the meeting including travel, room, utilities
- Co-ordinating everyone into one meeting (time differences, travelling distance)
- If it is a large meeting it can be more difficult to organise and manage and have that personal feel
But what about networking?
- A digital face in the midst of 100 faces is harder to remember than the one physical face you saw
- People who got most results from their networking efforts participate more in “face-to-face” casual contact networks
- 72% of those surveyed said they were influenced by looks and handshake
- A Business card is a physical connection to make both a first and lasting impression
There are obvious pros and cons to both methods of interaction.
When it comes to networking, Online appears to help you to make a greater number of superficial quick connections to explore and develop but face to face builds that one deeper relationship that could last for a longer period of time.
In regards to inhouse meetings, online helps to save time, money and increases attendance but is more difficult to maintain concentration whilst face to face increases productivity, ideas and attention.
And for new business it does seem to lean more towards the face to face as the superior meeting type to help build the foundation of trust but once the relationship is established an online presence is just as good.
A mix of the two seems to be the way forward and to use just one method could be seen as short-sighted but what is apparent is that online digital platforms are here to stay and will continue to be an important part of the daily running of any business. To do this, businesses need excellent IT support from a company who completely understand their needs and requirements. A company with expert knowledge and skills to ensure they have the infrastructure, equipment, education and security in place.
If you feel you need to discuss your IT requirements or just need advice please do not hesitate to contact Oli on 02382 022099