Ding. Filled with dread and fatigue, you receive the reminder for yet another online meeting. Virtual meetings have turned into an essential part of our workdays. While they help us navigate a socially distanced world, it’s hard to replace the benefits of a good old in-person meeting in the office space. Here’re five reasons why.
1. Better communication
Online communication can be convenient, but it lacks one key benefit. It’s much more difficult to read the body language of the participants (as opposed to when you're gathered at the office space). And words are just a small part of the way we communicate.
In fact, research found that about 60-80% of what is communicated is through body language. Thus, the correct use and understanding of it serve as an effective communication tool to help in the workplace and drive the organization’s success.
2. More meaningful relationships
A Forbes survey found that 84% of executives say they prefer face-to-face meetings at the office because they help them build stronger and more meaningful relationships. After all, this is vital for the engagement and loyalty of both teams and customers.
Moreover, some activities require building trust, which is easier in person.
“The art of negotiation takes the kind of nuance that is only present in an in-person meeting,” comments Dan L’Ecuyer, vice president of sales and marketing at CSP Technologies, a developer of packaging solutions, who took part in the survey.
“I don’t think you can really get at strategies without face-to-face time at the workspace.”
3. Improved attention
“58% of respondents admitted that they ‘frequently’ surf the web, check their email, read unrelated materials and handle other ancillary work during digital meetings,” according to the Forbes survey.
As the results point out, many participants in virtual calls divert their attention from the topic at hand. In a face-to-face environment, this is much less likely to happen.
Also, conversations in a virtual environment are less fluid and conducive to brainstorming innovative ideas.
4. Positive business outcomes
Meeting business surveys have shown that face-to-face meetings are more effective in meeting expectations related to morale, recognition, and trust, and ultimately achieving business goals.
“Nine in ten say meetings improve their ability to close deals (93%), network (90%) and grow professionally (88%),” as the survey states.
Furthermore, it seems like technology fails to substitute for direct human interaction when it comes to reaching a consensus on important business decisions.
“Face time is key to maintaining relationships, absorbing the passion of your business, and allowing an easier flow of ideas,” shares Mark Briskin, general manager of the New York Helmsley Hotel, who participated in the Forbes survey.