Holding meetings in the work place is something inevitable in order to succeed. They allow companies to communicate with their employees by motivation and information sharing, make projects easier to push forward and help with the process of policy decision-making. Traditionally, companies call for face-to-face meetings held in one office, one location, but because of increased costs and advancements in technology, changes are starting to happen regarding company meetings. Video conferences and Web conferencing are starting to replace some physical face-to-face meetings, as long distance meetings are becoming more popular.
Pro: The Same Event For Less
Advancing technology is making virtual communication and meetings a superior choice to physical confrontations. It may reduce costs by 50% to 80% because of cost cuts for venue rental, hotel rooms, transportation, and packing and shipping displays. For example, generating a lead could cost $20 virtually, while the same lead for a physical event could mean investing $200 to $1,000.
Con: Cant Replace Face to Face
Nothing can beat face-to-face interactions because it is still the most effective form of communication. Physical meetings deliver the rich, potent experiences that virtual meetings cant. There are communication messaging and social queues that could not be picked up if it weren’t for in person communication.
Travel is one of the major deciding factors between physical meetings and long distance ones. Not only does airfare and transportation cost a fortune these days, but you must also include accommodation costs such as hotel expenses. Not forgetting to mention how time consuming travel is, especially dealing with a company that works internationally as well. By switching to long-distance meetings, employees are more efficient with their time and it can impact their productivity.
Typically meetings are designed to share and review documents, make or review presentations, or vote on important decisions. All of these scenarios just mentioned can all be completed virtually. With today’s technology, it is easy to share content to all members present during the meeting and there are even online polling systems that can be used if such meeting required a vote on an important issue.
One thing that face-to-face meetings do have an advantage over virtual communication is the way you can recognize body language and gestures. Non-verbal queues are sometimes more important than verbal gestures. They help listeners and speakers with knowing if their message is being understood and so on. Long distance meetings don’t have the same face-to-face experience, which makes it difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of the meeting.
Occasionally, meetings need to be put together at short notice, and virtual meetings tend to handle these last minute meetings a lot better than having to organize a face-to-face meeting. It is a lot easier to quickly get on a Web conference without prior booking verse checking the availability for all participants to fly out to one location.
The Beam is a mobile video-conferencing machine that lets people interact with remote locations by coupling high-end video and audio with the freedom of motion to move about a space. Next week, I will provide more information on this new phenomenon, which is on its way to become a game changer in the work place.
*Source: Ian Linton, “Long-Distance Meetings Vs. Face-to-Face Meetings,” Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/longdistance-meetings-vs-facetoface-meetings-35427.html
*Source: Brent Arslaner and Spencer Jarrett, “Virtual Meetings Will Erase Face to Face,” January 27, 2009, Retrieved from http://www.businessweek.com/debateroom/archives/2009/01/virtual_meetings_will_erase_face_to_face.html