Face to Face vs. Screen to Screen: Which Type of Business Meetings Are Best?

The advent of technology has really brought about so many changes in the way we communicate in the business world. However, there are just some instances in which a meeting online just will not do the trick, no matter how much closer the combination of audio and visuals can make us feel across the globe. In this article, we will discuss when it would be best to hold a discussion through the internet and when it would be best to hop on over and meet the other party in person.

Meet Face to Face if…

1. Your meetings are meant to get to know the other person better. This is especially true if you have never worked on a project together but would like to see if you two are a good fit for each other’s needs. According to an article by Rene Shimada Siegel for Inc., there are just some things that you will not be able to witness over a video conference, such as the cozy office culture or how other employees go about their day to day tasks.

2. You want a better feel of the other person’s body language. While you can technically see the upper half of a person’s body and how they move thanks to web cameras, there is still something different about being able to see it for yourself in person. There are subtle cues that could be missed due to lag on the video platform’s part. Plus, you do not have the ability to really gauge space and total body language—legs included—if you are relying on an online meeting.

3. You want to build a business relationship instead simply troubleshooting a problem. While small talk can also happen over the screen, small talk occurs much more naturally while talking to somebody face to face. Plus, you can find other things to bond over, such as the other person’s fashion sense, or any unique items that they bring with them to the meeting. You might be able to start a conversation, for example, after spotting that their phone’s lock screen is a photo of their family.

Meet Screen to Screen if…

1. You just do not have the time to spare to hop on over to wherever the other person is located. This is especially true if the person you have to meet lives all the way across the ocean. Not only will you have to spend hours inside an airplane and spend a lot of time booking tickets, reserving board and lodging, and getting over jetlag, but you will have to do it all over again on your way back to your main office. Instead, you can conduct video conferencing for business by taking advantage of products such as BlueJeans. No matter where you are, you can conduct a meeting from the comfort of your own office, your own home, or even anywhere on the road if you tend to be on the go.

2. You cannot afford the expensive plane tickets, board and lodging, and other expenses associated with business travel. According to an article by the Travel Leaders Group, the average cost of a hotel room was around $213.69, while the average cost of airfare was around $1,565.68. It is a sobering amount of money to consider, especially when you multiply that by the number of people who have to go to business meetings out of the country. The rising costs are definitely a valid concern, especially since a lot of these meetings could potentially end up being unproductive, according to a number of CEOs. Plus, fifteen percent of a company’s time tends to be spent in meetings. If you add that up to the hundreds of people in any organization, that can already mean several hours or days spent sitting around potentially not achieving any results.

3. You have tons of people you have to talk to at the same time. A group meeting in person is a lot less viable if all of you are spread across several continents. The same holds true if you are going to talk to individual people from all across the globe. If you have to talk to somebody from India, then discuss plans with somebody from Europe, and then finalize details with somebody from Japan, it just doesn’t make any sense to take a plane from one country to another for things that can easily be settled over the internet.

Pick Whichever Works Best for Your Needs

These are just a few of the things you may have to consider before deciding whether or not you should make the extra effort of meeting somebody in person. Whatever you decide, just keep these pros and cons in mind, and you will be sure to make the most productive choice possible. Good luck on your business meetings!

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