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Is There Now No Need For In-Person Meetings?

Should they be discarded?

5Jun

It’s logical to assume that a global drop in oil prices would lead to a decrease in airfares. And whilst it’s been predicted that global surcharges are going to fall by 5.1% on average, it could be a while before European airlines drop their fees by a recognisable margin.

Over the last couple of years, many companies have cut their travel budgets. Not just a cost-saving measure, but a reaction to the heightened demand which is now placed on individual employees, virtual meetings have been touted as the best way for their international offices to communicate with one another.

It would be naïve to suggest that virtual meetings conducted by companies at the moment are effective enough to replace face-to-face meetings. Often, it’s not actually the formal meeting where the best ideas flow, it’s the so-called ‘meeting after the meeting’ where the best ideas come to fruition.

In these situations, where the participants are less-guarded, conversations are often more productive. Most assume that this is because everyone’s been plied with drink, but in reality, it’s just because they’re in a more comfortable environment where conversations are  one-on-one, instead of being in front of ten people, who might be looking to shout them down at any moment.

Virtual meetings, however, now account for 32% of all meetings. The advantages of them are obvious; they’re convenient and cost-effective. The disadvantages are that there’s no opportunity to go for the informal meal after and that it can difficult to encourage interactivity.

There’s every chance that participants could be doing other things on their computer screens, like checking incoming emails or even researching the meeting’s topic. If the person is there in the flesh you can guarantee that this isn’t happening.

The question as to whether virtual meetings are going to become more popular in reality has almost nothing to do with which produces the better results, it’s a matter of convenience and cost-effectiveness.

Many companies have offices in the UK, Europe and Asia, meaning that it’s infeasible for meetings to be scheduled face-to-face on a regular basis. It’s likely that only the most important meetings, if they involve people who operate from different offices, will be face-to-face.

It’s also important to mention the significance of technology and how its development could facilitate more engaging meetings. If the software allows it, I am sure that 34% will increase considerably. 

Do we still need in-person interviews? Absolutely. 

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