Online vs. In-Person Meetings

Meetings. Somehow it seems there are always too many of them during the work day. Seemingly overnight, the pandemic shifted meetings from in-person to online. But for many of us, they still probably consume most of each day.

Before we had things like mobile phones, laptops, internet, and cheap phone rates, the office was the place to be. Working from home wasn’t possible. You needed to be there physically, to get things done. To interact with the right people. To access your documents.

We no longer have to go to the office to work because of technology, mobile devices, and affordable home office equipment. Yet many of us still do. Perhaps because “that’s how we always did things.” The sudden shift from in-person to online has offered a new way to do business. But is it a better way? Will it stick?

Pros and Cons of In-Person Meetings

Depending on the type of meeting, it can be really fun (and productive) to collaborate in person. Provided you like your co-workers.

Reading body language and other non-verbal cues is easier. These clues are valuable for understanding how messaging is being received and reacted to.

An in-person meeting can be totally private. It’s easy to record an online meeting, even without the other participants knowing.

One the flip side, attending in-person meetings can be really time consuming. In addition to time spent in the actual meeting, there is time wasted traveling to/from meetings. Or spent packing up/setting up equipment, like laptops or projectors.

Inevitably something fails with the projection equipment in the meeting rooms, requiring ad-hoc workarounds.

Half the people attend remotely anyway.

Pros and Cons of Online Meetings

Time is saved getting to/from meetings.

It’s easy to record the event for reference or compliance purposes.

It can be a less expensive option because rooms don’t need to rented. Plus people can join from all over the world without travel expenses to be there in person.

On the flip side, every attendee needs to know how to use the technology.

Coordinating who speaks when can be challenging. This is especially true when video and audio-only participants are in the same meeting.

Hearing, or seeing details on the screen, can be difficult.

Using video can make people uncomfortable. Views of people can be unflattering, or incomplete, depending on where the camera is pointing.

Which type of meeting do you prefer?

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