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The Pros and Cons of Online Meetings

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic brought about a paradigm shift in the way businesses react. Business development specialists have had to refine the ways that they communicate with clients, especially during a time when physical meetings were not recommended. Fast-forward a few months and online meetings have become customary and are now sought frequently. We will be discussing the pros and cons of online meetings in detail, with MYC’s Business Development Consultant, David Pace.

Cost-effectiveness

One of the most obvious benefits of holding online meetings is cost-effectiveness. A formal meeting can cost money, especially if this is turned into a small event. The same applies to a larger degree, for meetings where attendees need to travel and accommodation would be required. With online meetings, there would absolutely be no need to rent meeting rooms or to spend time on commutes.

Less interaction and relationship building

Although online meetings serve a good purpose, they are not truly a replacement for physical ones. During physical meetings, one would be more able to gather cues from non-verbal communication, allowing participants to express themselves better. This promotes improved interaction and relationship building. There is a reason why physical discussions are more effective, especially as you are meeting someone for the first time or aiming to take important decisions. Virtual calls may hinder participation from all members attending, as communication can be easily interpreted as interference. The downside of virtual meetings when compared to physical ones is that a lot of communication relies on the voice.

Online meetings can be more frequent

Online meetings are much easier to organize. They do not require people to commute and leave less leeway for individuals to state that they cannot make it on time. Due to the commutes, it can become more complicated to identify a suitable date and time for physical meetings, postponing important items on the agenda.

Physical meetings allow for spontaneity

Online meetings are typically more structured. Physical meetings allow us to speak with people we do not usually interact with and enable new opportunities. One advantage of a physical meeting in this context is that there are increased opportunities for cross-selling and to discuss ideas that may have not necessarily been part of the agenda. From a business development point of view, this allows more flexibility and leeway and thus is better for networking.

Virtual meetings can enable increased attendance

It is possible that when a meeting is taking place online, more attendees are present. The reason for this is related to the convenience of an online meeting and the flexibility that one can continue working on different tasks in the interim. There is also the option for such attendees to drop out of the meeting if there are other priorities that they need to deal with. Through online means, a meeting can be attended from any device and location, as long as one has an internet connection.

Internet connection failure

One of the most underestimated problems is the lack of an adequate internet connection. Without good internet, it is practically impossible to follow an online meeting. If internet connections are significantly bad, online meetings would not be able to take place.

Although there are both advantages and disadvantages, virtual meetings are now part of the new normal. Considering the way things have evolved, we cannot consider one to replace the other. It has become a matter of identifying the right context for the different meetings. In a nutshell, if it is an introductory meeting where you need to deliver a solid first impression, the physical option might be ideal. If on the other hand, it is a matter of a quick update meeting, the virtual option might be better suited. The right approach depends on the context.

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