Online Meetings – Advantages and Disadvantages

online meetings vs face to face

Considering how to run an online meeting? Managing the distance between you and your attendees is a big factor when deciding which type of meeting to host. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of both types of meetings. You can also choose between face to face and virtual meetings depending on your needs and the level of your audience’s busyness. Find out which format is best for your meetings! But remember: no meeting is completely the same – there are advantages and disadvantages to both.

Disadvantages of online meetings over face-to-face meetings

Many organizations have shifted from in-person to online meetings for several reasons. Online meetings are more convenient because the participants can be in several locations at once, and they can reduce the costs of travel and disrupted schedules. However, there are subtle disadvantages to online meetings. Considering the benefits and drawbacks, one should make the right decision based on the circumstances. Here are some of the most important differences between face-to-face meetings and online meetings.

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First, online meetings are often easier to cancel. The convenience of virtual meetings is great – it’s easier to cancel than to cancel an in-person meeting. However, some topics like project proposals, initial meetings, and other discussions require in-person interactions, which make online meetings less convenient. Face-to-face meetings can also foster more trust and attention among participants, as well as reveal hidden messages. Face-to-face meetings are also better for communicating nuances of tone and body language.

Managing distance between meetings

One of the biggest challenges to managing distance between online meetings and face-to-face meeting is that people act differently when they are apart from each other. An online forum, for instance, may have a greater tendency to let things slip without consequence, while a face-to-face meeting is bound to generate more chemistry and collaboration. In some cases, however, distance is a blessing in disguise.

The obvious advantages of face-to-face meetings include body language. Managing distance between people and time zones means that many social cues are missed, such as eye contact, eyelids, and eye movement. Also, face-to-face meetings allow participants to look at each other and assess each other’s emotional state. For this reason, managers and leaders should pay close attention to the body language of people involved in a meeting.

Engagement

If you’re planning to hold an online meeting, here are the most important differences between an in-person and an online meeting: In-person meetings tend to foster more collaboration, and online meetings generally foster more individual interaction. Both types of meetings have their strengths and weaknesses, but in general, face-to-face meetings are better for building relationships and discussing high-level project plans. Meanwhile, virtual meetings are better for reviewing smaller details and providing direction to team members.

Digital tools provide an opportunity to use interactive tools to connect participants from multiple locations and facilitate their meeting objectives. This makes them essential in all boxes of the graphic above. While face-to-face meetings can be effective for short-term goals and specific agendas, they should be supplemented by ongoing asynchronous communication. Face-to-face meetings can also be used to facilitate collaborative processes and learning programs.

Efficiency

There are differences in efficiency between face to head and online meetings, but both types of meetings are generally more effective than a traditional meeting. The efficiency of an online meeting is higher for small teams of two to four people, while a face-to-face meeting is more effective for large groups. The degree of education of the people participating in the meeting also affects the efficiency of an online meeting. Higher levels of education are more effective at online meetings, compared to lower-level workers. The quality of home internet may also affect the efficiency of an online meeting.

Face-to-face communication allows for better reading of facial expressions and body language. With video chat, email, and instant messaging, it is easy to miss something important or misunderstand what the other person is trying to say. Face-to-face meetings allow people to read the room, which can be critical for communication. Studies have shown that people with emotional ties to a brand are more satisfied, and their recommendations are higher.