In the business world, meetings are commonplace. They can range from a 5-minute internal chat with the team to a large scale client management meeting. These are a chance to catch up, exchange ideas and explore possibilities and opportunities. Communication in any team or work partnership is absolutely vital for the success of jobs and projects. It allows everyone to work harmoniously together. In the digital age, with programmes like Zoom and Skype, it is now easier than ever to jump into a video meeting at the click of a button. These can happen anywhere, at any time and can save hours of travelling. However, there is still incredible value in face to face meetings and these certainly shouldn’t be overlooked. In today’s blog, we explore the pros and cons of face to face meetings and video calling and how striking a good balance between the two can be extremely beneficial.
Value of face to face meetings
The rise of use in Social Media means that now more than ever we are experiencing many aspects of relationship building through a screen. In ways, this has made us complacent to the importance of physical communication. When working with a client, demonstrating your commitment and effort with face to face interactions goes a long way. Although it may not always be convenient to travel for a face to face meeting, it shows that you are serious about the work you do. This is particularly important if you are meeting with them for the first time. A physical meeting allows you to become acquainted far more easily, whilst getting used to body language and having an open line of communication. It allows a better level of bonding which can benefit both parties during the business relationship management. There tends to be a stronger level of productivity during in person meetings, as you aren’t sidetracked by slow internet or other distractions. If there are documents or notes to show, it’s far easier to do so in person and allows you to see their reaction first hand.
Advantage of face to face meeting
A good relationship, be that business or personal is all about communication. A video call can mean you lose things like verbal cues, facial expressions and body language which are so crucial. Small things like a smile or hesitation are all vital in understanding how the delegate is feeling and perceiving the conversation. These factors can easily get lost when communicating via video call. Having larger virtual meetings can also lead to issues. If one individual has slow loading internet, it can distract the whole group and leave that person behind when understanding context and decisions. A lag can also lead people to talk over each other or not communicate at all for fear of interrupting. Social queues are sometimes lost on a video call which makes it more clumsy and less productive than face to face meetings.
The disadvantage of face to face meeting
Of course, with all the advantages of face to face meetings, there are many reasons why video calling is so popular. The instantaneous nature of the call, in theory, means you can get more done. It also means you have more opportunities to discuss projects verbally. If you have a client meeting at 1 pm, you could use the hour you would be travelling to prepare for the meeting and the hour back to summarise, discuss with colleagues and write up notes. It also means you can communicate with multiple clients in one day which can increase productivity. For a group meeting, if you are all based apart, it can be difficult to find dates and times where everyone is free to travel for face to face meetings. This can cause a delay in the progress of projects. Many people have half an hour spare in the day which means you can jump on Zoom and have a discussion.
How to make the most out of a video meeting
If you are engaging in a meeting via Zoom or Teams, there are several ways you can ensure you get the most from the experience. Inevitably, some meetings will be online so it’s important to understand how to use these to your advantage. Before the meeting, check your computer’s microphone and speaker are working correctly and set yourself up in a comfortable position. If you are working from home, avoid slumping on the sofa. This can look unprofessional and make you feel unmotivated. Instead, set yourself up on a table with a supportive chair. Consider recording some notes with a pad and pen so you don’t have to work on another window.
Minimise distractions by alerting other members of the household/office you will be in a meeting, and at what time. Once in the meeting, ensure to speak clearly so everyone can understand you. If you would usually follow an agenda, share this with the participants to read beforehand. This means everyone is on the same page during the meeting. It also means delegates have an idea of who will be sharing/talking when. Most video calling software has a screen share function so you can show notes and media to the participants.
Face to face meetings conclusion
When choosing your meeting style, it’s important to have a variety of both digital calls and in person interaction. Spending all of your time travelling to physical meetings can be draining. It can leave you with less time to work on projects and tasks. Similarly, constant video calls can become stressful and means you lose out on social connections. Consider scheduling in video calls which allow you more time in the workday. It’s important a new client meeting be in person if possible. This will secure your relationship and allow better communication in the future. Consider a monthly physical meeting with clients and several video call catch-ups in between. This method strikes the right balance whilst still maintaining strong business relationships.
At Kents Hill Park, we are leading suppliers of flexible office solutions. Looking for a place to host your next face to face meeting? We have 70 different spaces which are available on an ad hoc basis and come with a kettle, fridge, and goody bag. We can offer office space by the month, week, day, or hour to suit your needs and budget. Need a break from WFH? Our co-working spaces are self-contained and can be used as a personal office if you need a change of scenery when remote working. If you or meeting guests are travelling from afar, why not spend the night in one of our 300 modern en-suite bedrooms which come with a flat-screen TV, free WI-FI and complimentary toiletries. Contact us today to book your office space.