- Physical Meeting Vs Virtual Meeting
- The Benefits of Face To Face Meetings
- How To Get The Most From Your Face To Face Meeting
In an age where everything is going digital, virtual interactions are growing but face to face communication is fading into the background. The digital era has revolutionised the way we communicate, bringing unparalleled convenience and efficiency to our lives but in a world of virtual events, video calls and instant messaging, it’s crucial that we weigh up the benefits of face to face meetings. We’ll explore the irreplaceable joys of in-person connection, collaboration and understanding that you can only achieve when gathering people together.
We’ve all faced Zoom fatigue in recent years and I’m sure many of us have spent time wondering why a 30 minute meeting couldn’t have been an email, and we understand why. If meetings are not planned properly, this poor organisation can leave attendees disengaged and feelings of resentment for time wasted.
If this is a problem for your business, why not explore our 5 Employee Engagement Strategies?
Physical Meeting Vs Virtual Meeting
So how do we find the balance between hosting a virtual meeting, an in-person meeting or just sending an email? Our first tip would be, do you have a goal for your meeting? Without a goal, you can build a clear strategy of what you want to get from a meeting.
If the focus is to give instructions, an email may be the best option and a meeting could be organised afterwards if there are multiple questions.
Alternatively, if a topic requires a discussion, a meeting might be your best option. So how do you decide if this should be an online meeting or a physical meeting? Short discussions could easily be held on a video call, more complex discussions would benefit from a face-to-face meeting.
A short, well-planned meeting can in fact save your company time and money. Not to mention, showing your face to the client every once in a while, is key in building those oh-so-important relationships. Explore how to get the most from a face to face meeting below.
The Benefits of Face to Face Meetings
Sometimes face to face meetings are crucial in enhancing your client relationship to the next level, building trust and obtaining loyalty. We have put together our list of the most vital reasons why face to face meetings are still important and the benefits of face to face meetings.
- Building Strong Relationships
- Building Loyalty and Trust
- Keeping your Team Focused and Productive
- Effective Communication
- Communicate Clear Goals
- Make Focusing Easier
- Issues with Technology Eliminated
Explore the value of face to face meetings here.
1. Building Strong Relationships
Did you know that nearly 100% of people say face-to-face communication is essential for long-term business relationships?
Meeting people in person demonstrates that you value their time and business. If you can go to the effort of getting smartly dressed and driving across the country for a meeting, you are clearly a dedicated and motivated individual or company. It shows the client that they are important to you and that the meeting topic in question is worth valuable time.
Face to face meetings is key to building strong relationships. The customer or client will feel as if they have connected with you better if you meet with them in person over communication via email or phone. The personal attention you are showing the clients proves that you are actively listening to them, therefore building stronger relationships.
Another advantage of face to face meetings is that you can engage in purposeful small talk. Talking about the simple stuff is often something that is forgotten about in online meetings but by asking a few easy questions, you can improve the bond between you and those attending your meeting. You also never know what you’ll pick up that can help in the future or will help you get to know a person better.
2. Building Loyalty and Trust
Did you know that customers with an emotional relationship with a brand have a 306% higher lifetime value and will recommend the company at a rate of 71%, rather than the average rate of 45%? (View source here).
Face to face meetings with clients and customers will increase the emotional relationship and will help build loyalty. As humans, we naturally want to meet and interact with the people we are doing business with. Especially at the beginning of a client relationship, where the trust has not yet been established.
Lost language is a problem you will find if you solely rely on technology for communication. Body language, eye contact and tone of voice are immensely important in establishing a loyal client and this is lost when you are only communicating through email.
Face to face meetings with clients and customers prove that you are dedicated and want to listen and build a relationship with them.
3. Keeping your Team Focused and Productive
Yes, we have all been stuck in an internal meeting that has been a total waste of time. But a properly organised and structured face to face meeting is actually more productive than video conferencing, a phone call or email chains.
Did you know that on average, an in-person meeting will generate about 13.36 ideas, whereas a virtual meeting will only generate around 10.43? This is because we communicate with each other better when we have face to face interaction.
Virtual meetings are great because they can be more convenient, but they can also be more awkward. It is more difficult to mind map ideas within the company and has in-depth discussions. A large number of people also admit to browsing social media to pass the time when on audio-only conference calls.
It is also more tempting to browse your text messages or social media profiles when you are on a virtual call. Face to face communication means that the temptation of checking your phone is eliminated.
4. Effective Communication
Face to face communication also allows you to better read hand gestures, body language and facial expressions. Often things can be misinterpreted when on a video chat and especially over email or instant messages! Meeting face to face enables you to properly read the room.
Did you know that 55% of what you say is done with your facial expression and 38% is said with inflexion (how you say a word)? Only 7% of what you say is the actual words you say. Yes, you can see facial expressions and hear people on a virtual call but it can be hard to grasp both of these things if your internet is slow or the picture isn’t clear, plus you can’t see their hand gestures or body language. This is a great advantage of face to face meetings because it helps to make communication clearer and more effective.
Physical meetings are also beneficial for tackling sensitive meeting topics because it means nothing can be misinterpreted and is more beneficial for expressing empathy and understanding.
5. Communicate Clear Goals
Another reason why face to face meetings are still so important is that it is much easier to communicate goals and objectives. This is because we can easily read facial expressions and body language. The conversations we have in person are often deemed to be more credible and beneficial than those done via technology.
With face to face meetings, the chat is usually more to the point, meaning that the conversation will flow a lot more naturally. This enables us to be clearer with our objectives, come up with more ideas and lead to more opportunities for the business.
The takeaway notes and actions from face-to-face meetings are also a lot clearer than if you were hosting a meeting online. That’s because it is easy to misinterpret an action point or takeaway note if you can’t properly communicate with your colleagues.
6. Make Focusing Easier
Technology is great! Nobody is denying that. However, we can all admit that we have been less focused during a virtual meeting. Sat on our computer, the temptation to sit and scroll through social media through a drab internal meeting is tempting. And we have all done it.
It’s not only social media that causes an issue for virtual meetings. People tend to multi-task throughout and this includes replying to emails or continuing with their project. This means that more often than not people in a virtual meeting are not fully concentrating on the meeting topic and are distracted.
However, in a face to face meeting, the chance to get distracted is greatly minimised. It would be considered extremely rude to get your phone out during a meeting and start scrolling through social media or checking your emails.
People tend to engage more in face to face meetings because there isn’t that opportunity to do anything else, meaning that in-person meetings are still relevant and important, even in today’s world of technology.
7. Issues with Technology Eliminated
We have outlined why you should be utilising face to face communication as an important tactic even in today’s digital age. Virtual meetings are great but even in today’s climate, it is still necessary to meet face to face. We understand that working from home is the new way to work, but sometimes a virtual meeting just won’t do.
How to Get The Most From Your Face To Face Meeting
Leading a successful face-to-face meeting that adds value to all participants involves strategic planning and engaging execution. Here are some actionable tips to guide you through the process:
- Define a Clear Purpose: Begin by pinpointing the specific objective you aim to achieve through the meeting. Understanding your desired outcomes will help you determine whether holding an in-person gathering is essential and which topics warrant discussion.
- Plan in Advance: Once your meeting’s purpose is established, you can create a well-organised agenda that outlines the topics to be covered. You should share your agenda with the meeting attendees at least 24 hours prior to the meeting, allowing them ample time to come prepared with questions and information to achieve the best contributions.
- Who Should Be Involved: Once you’ve decided on the purpose of your meeting, you should decide who is essential to attend. Consider if an individual will help to achieve your objectives and invite them accordingly. Additionally, why not consider inviting select participants for only specific segments of the meeting if their expertise is required for specific discussions so not to waste their time for areas of discussion that will not affect them?
- Time Allocation: Allocate an appropriate amount of time for the meeting. If the desired outcomes aren’t met within the scheduled duration, propose extending the meeting or planning a follow-up session. Demonstrating flexibility showcases your respect for participants’ time and cultivates a sense of mutual trust.
- Pre-Meeting Tasks: Clearly communicate any pre-meeting assignments participants need to undertake, such as research or preparing to speak on particular topics. Ensuring everyone is primed before the meeting starts can streamline discussions and enhance overall productivity.
- Active Engagement: Approach the meeting with a positive attitude and actively involve participants by posing questions and practicing attentive listening. Your enthusiastic participation sets the tone for the meeting, motivating others to contribute actively. Plus showing that you care about what meeting attendees are bringing to the table will make them more likely to contribute on the day and in the future, helping to build good relationships between you and your team or clients.
- Facilitate Interaction: Encourage a dynamic exchange of ideas by fostering an environment where open dialogue flourishes. Lead by example, fostering an inclusive atmosphere that stimulates engagement and productive conversations.
- Closure and Next Steps: As the meeting wraps up, recap the decisions made and offer participants a final opportunity to share thoughts. Conclude by assigning specific tasks to individuals, ensuring that responsibilities are clear and everyone knows their next steps, this ensures that a meeting was not a waste of time without points of action.
By adhering to these face-to-face meeting tips, you can create an environment where valuable discussions thrive, decisions are made efficiently, and participants leave with a sense of accomplishment and purpose. Your leadership to improve communication within meetings will not only boost the meeting’s effectiveness but also nurture an environment for successful collaboration.
Hosting The Meeting at a Dedicated Meeting Venue
Whether you have an office with meeting space or you’re looking for an offsite meeting room, ensuring you’ve chosen adequate space and a great location is key to engagement. If you’re bringing multiple teams together from different locations, a dedicated meeting venue might be ideal.
Yarnfield Park is a dedicated Conference and Training Centre with 41 meeting rooms for hire at our venue in Staffordshire, that can be adapted to suit your needs. We offer a range of excellent meeting packages and excellent facilities.Go back to other articles