With the rapid technological growth we’re currently facing, it’s not surprising that more and more meetings are taking place online.

Videoconferences and video calls are not uncommon – these are the norm.

On the other hand, what about traditional, face-to-face meetings? Are they less effective?

We’ve created a comparison of virtual and face-to-face meetings. You will get to know some of our best virtual meeting tips and learn about the benefits of traditional meetings.

If you are wondering what type of meeting you should arrange, keep reading. We’re more than happy to help you out.

What is a virtual meeting

A virtual meeting is the one that takes place with the help of the internet and mobile devices.

It allows people to exchange information or ideas  without spending money and losing time on getting to the meeting place.

All you need is an internet connection and dedicated software (such as Skype, Google Hangouts or even Facebook Messenger).

We recommend paying special attention to stable internet connection. Any disruptions along the way make it harder to communicate and may discourage your client, even if they’re fully aware that it isn’t completely your fault.

The experience is just less pleasant if you’re dealing with interferences along the way.

When virtual meetings are better

Video conferences are a huge time saver – you can see other meeting participants without having to travel!

What’s more, virtual meetings allow you to speak with your clients or workers from around the world.

When is it better to make a call or have a videoconference rather than grab a coffee together?

Let’s have a closer look.

Your company works remotely

Remote work culture is nothing unusual nowadays.

Virtual meeting solutions allow businesses to rely on cooperation between remote teams and sharing ideas with co-workers or clients from all around the world.

You don’t need to waste your precious time or (just as precious) money to travel hundreds of kilometres just to give an update about your project.

You can stay in your office and still work on successful international projects.

To top it all off, avoiding unnecessary trips is more sustainable and friendly for the environment.

Early-stage recruitment meetings

Human resources professionals can arrange meetings with potential candidates anytime, from anywhere.

It makes things much easier, especially if the candidate would need to relocate.

A huge advantage of this idea is that online hiring helps reduce HR department costs significantly.

This works best for pre-screening calls to see if the candidate is a potential fit and whether they should participate in the next stages of the recruitment process.

You need to get in touch with someone from abroad

Videoconferencing allows you to bring some wise and important expert’s opinion to your teams work.

In certain instances, you can’t move the project forward if you don’t speak to an expert.

Now you don’t need to wait to make an appointment, you can just make a video call instead.

Project updates

When you’re in the process of working on a project, it doesn’t always make sense to meet the client face-to-face to update them every week – especially if they’re located in another city.

Instead, you might choose to have a virtual meeting to share quick updates. Usually, this can be done in less than 30 minutes, which is a huge productivity boost.

One of the ways to make virtual meetings even more effective is Harmonizely.

It helps you schedule all your meetings without unnecessary hassle. You can make the process as simple as possible through integrations with Google Calendar, Outlook/Office 365, iCloud, FastMail or Zoho.

You can also set your availability times and allow the meeting participants to choose the dates that suite them best.

When face-to-face meetings are better

When a group of people is in the same conference room, we call it a face-to-face meeting.

This type of meeting makes it easier for you to keep track of gestures, tone of voice,  facial expressions and reactions.

Interpretation of body language may give you some hints that are lost in the case of virtual meetings.

If you are discussing really big deals and crucial decisions, it’s usually much better to arrange a traditional meeting.

Team building

By arranging meetings in person, you can also create a deep connection with people in your company.

It helps you build stronger and more committed teams.

Subsequently, they will become more involved in their work, which obviously means a lot for your business.

It is easier to build trust when you can see a person next to you, not on the screen.

Staying focused

Another advantage of this type of meeting is the control of distractions.

We all know how easy it is to get distracted when you’re having a virtual meeting.

All participants will find it easier to remain focused without being distracted by push notifications on their smartphones and laptops.

Natural connection

What’s more, conversations during online meetings don’t always come naturally, especially when participants talk to each other for the first time.

Also, the impersonal nature of the virtual meeting may discourage participants from expressing their suggestions or questions.

It’s easier to brainstorm when you can use a whiteboard or write your ideas down on post-it notes.

It’s also worth mentioning that Harmonizely can help you with scheduling in-person meeting as well.

Allow all meeting participants to schedule it in one place and set notifications just to be sure all of the participants will appear at every scheduled meeting.

Key takeaways for your future meetings

As you can see, both types of meetings have their pros and cons.

You can’t arrange a virtual meeting without a stable internet connection, but on the other hand, can’t always get coworkers from different countries in the same room either.

For best results, we recommend choosing different meeting types depending on the purpose of the meeting.

The team behind gaming site Mahjong-Challenge and word finding site Unscrambled Words does exactly that. For everyday meetings like standups, they get together virtually. However, when they are planning new games, they convene at a meeting space and get their team together to facilitate conversation and brainstorming.

Harmonizely will help you to get the best from both types of gatherings.

We’re here to help you come up with the best outcomes and to make organizing meetings a pleasure, not an unavoidable chore.