With rapid advancements taking place in virtual conferencing technology all the time, more and more businesses are turning to video calls as an alternative to arranging face-to-face meetings. The Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown measures have accelerated this shift exponentially, with many businesses now using solely virtual conferencing tools whilst social distancing measures are in place.
But will this new trend replace traditional face-to-face meetings altogether once restrictions lift? We weigh up some of the pros and cons of virtual meetings…
It saves time and money
With commuting time cut out of the equation, virtual meetings are much easier to set up in terms of both time and cost efficiency. All that is needed to set up a virtual meeting is an internet connection and a video chat programme, such as Microsoft Teams (link to article).
It helps reduce the carbon footprint
Virtual meetings eradicate the need for extensive travel, which means that the number of harmful fuel emissions being released into the atmosphere are greatly reduced.
It has the capacity to share more information, more easily
With everyone online and looking at a screen, sharing files, images and ideas becomes easier. The ability to share your own screen with other attendees means you can show them exactly what you are talking about in real time.
Connectivity issues can interfere
Nothing disrupts the flow of a virtual meeting quite like a poor internet connection. With multiple attendees on the call, it can be particularly tricky to ensure that everyone is well connected and able to follow the meeting at the same time.
It can be trickier to establish trust
Building new relationships can be very difficult over a video chat as it’s much trickier to read things like body language and conversational cues. For these reasons, it’s much easier to convince your clients and get them on side in person.
More potential for disruptions
Holding a meeting in your own home comes with the potential for personal and work-related interruptions – a knock at the front door, family trying to get your attention, a work call coming in because not all of your colleagues are aware you’re in a meeting.
In conclusion, the best course of action for businesses going forward is not to replace face-to-face meetings with virtual ones altogether but rather to combine the two together in a blended approach for the best possible results. The first stages of establishing a new customer relationship should always be carried out face-to-face to build the all-important trust and then subsequent follow-up meetings can be carried out virtually.