Technology is forever advancing, and this means it is making it easier to connect and communicate with each other. Virtual meetings involve people interacting through the web on platforms such as Skype, Google Hangouts, and ReadyTalk etc, and you can do this from the comfort of your office rather than in person. There are advantages and disadvantages to this, but to help you make your mind up we've weighed up the pros and cons for this. Can you think of any we've missed? If so, get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Time & Cost Effective
Virtual meetings save a lot of time and money. You won't have to pay for petrol, lunch, hotel or even flight costs for those overseas clients. Then because you're not travelling about it'll save time, you'll have more control over scheduling a time that is convenient for all and there won't be any time wasted on unnecessary chit chat like there might be if you were to meet in person.
If you're doing a virtual meeting from your office then you won't be scrambling to get everything together, nor will you need to check you have everything because it'll all be there ready! Also, if you have the permission of both parties then you could record your meeting, this way you'll be able to refer to it and it can be needed for 'back up' if necessary.
Participation & Confidence
A videoconferencing tool will allow everyone to make the call that day, even if they are out of the office or working from home. The participation could help people who aren't overly keen on public speaking, as it will allow them to present from a place of comfort without feeling like everyone's eyes are on them. Which will hopefully instil some confidence.
Lack of Participation
Although it may be easier to participate from wherever you are, there is inevitably less interaction. Without meeting in person, you can't get a real sense of what the client is like. You might also find it harder to interject in the conversation and ask questions as virtual meetings tend to be more constructed. A physical interaction between all attendants will make them more engaged and active at the meeting rather than sat quietly in the background. Body language is also more visible when in person, people become more relaxed in company and you might be able to tell this through the expression of body language or gestures.
Technology & Connection
Just because you are talking your client through something doesn't mean that they won't still struggle to understand some things. Which means it is better to show things off in person as not everyone will understand the purpose for every button and icon. You should probably check our internet connection is strong before you start. Even though we're at an age where technology has never been more prominent, it all depends on the connection on whether we are able to use these devices. It may be a good idea to opt for a software that operates on low quality.
Spontaneity & Language
Sure, more things can go wrong in a meeting compared to a virtual meeting. But sometimes that's what can spark creativity and questions and will allow you to showcase more skills such as leadership and teamwork. Meeting in person can also save confusion, face to face meetings minimise the risk of miscommunication compared to talking over the phone or live video chat.