The use of video technology has been fundamental during the pandemic, enabling us to maintain an element of human connection during this uncertain time. Although the working world has taken steps towards a ‘new normal’, it does seem that remote meetings are here to stay. For many companies they have become the norm and are considered a perfectly acceptable way to meet someone. Virtual meetings are often preferred over an in-person get together because of the convenience factor and ability to meet more people in a day.
Whilst we have proved just how much can be achieved remotely, face-to-face meetings are undoubtedly useful in many instances. Unlike virtual meetings, they provide a more natural way of building rapport with responsive conversation and the ability to capture non-verbal communication cues. Read below for a whole host of benefits to the in-person interaction of a face-to-face meeting
Benefits of face-to-face meetings
Establishes greater rapport
Meetings conducted online are less likely to include ‘small talk’ that is usually a feature of face-to-face meetings. This ‘chit-chat’ is often useful for breaking the ice and can mean a deeper connection is made between parties, thus allowing more personality to come through. Meeting someone in person is also more natural; meeting over screens can make the transaction feel stilted, which can dampen the chances of rapport being built.
Captures non-verbal communication cues
Information gathered from transactional conversations comes as much from non-verbal communication as it does verbal. Although some non-verbal cues can be picked up via screens most of this is lost, particularly with body language. A lot can be portrayed in non-verbal cues, such as emotions and authenticity.
More focused and productive
Communication tends to be much clearer in person, meaning collaboration can happen more naturally. The ability to use visual aids such as a whiteboard can be helpful when leading a complex discussion, making it far more fluid. Face-to-face meetings also make it easier for participants to tell when someone stops talking, so they feel more confident adding in their own ideas.
Off-script, responsive conversation
The slightly unnatural setting of an online meeting, can reduce or eradicate the natural flow of conversation, meaning it can be harder to go ‘off script’. This can prevent conversations delving into deeper discussions. There is a greater fluidity of conversation in person that can mean a lot more is revealed.
Introduces interims to the working environment
As much as face-to-face meetings offer the interviewer a better chance to see the ‘real’ person, it likewise offers prospective interims the opportunity to see the business, getting a glimpse of the feel and culture of it, not to mention a trial commute.
Maintains a formal atmosphere
Attending an in-person meeting in an office, heralds a certain formality which can be lost online, particularly if the interim is conducting the meeting from home. This may encourage a slightly more informal response which runs the risk of putting interims on the back foot.
Depending on the person the opposite may also be true – they may be less comfortable meeting virtually, with nerves preventing them from acting and answering naturally, and/or discomfort at showing their home environment or awareness of home distractions that may detract from their meeting performance.
Although many organisations have found virtual consulting successful, others are less comfortable with engaging interims entirely remotely, preferring the reassurance of a face-to-face meeting. At Oakwood Resources we ensure that we build strong partnerships with our interim managers and clients alike. Whether it is through the convenient use of virtual technology or natural communication of a face-to-face meeting, we look forward to continuing to build and strengthen the relationships we have.