Most meetings can be held virtually these days, thanks to rapidly advancing technology. Conference calls, screen sharing, you name it – there are many different ways to run a meeting. Online meetings offer a variety of benefits, including the fact that it is environmentally friendly – since there’s no travel involved, it reduces a company’s carbon footprint tremendously.
Of course, to say that online meetings can simply replace face-to-face meetings is unrealistic. But there are certainly strong advantages found in meetings held online that an in-person meeting simply cannot beat.
Some companies use online meetings exclusively, while others use it in parallel. Apart from the obvious benefits of online meetings, it’s interesting to consider the things that won’t happen in online meetings, which may well – and commonly do – happen in face-to-face meetings.
1. Nobody will get “stuck in traffic”
Tired of employees not arriving on time, or not showing up on time at all for live meetings? Virtual meetings could hold the key to enhancing attendance. For starters, online meetings can be recorded, which means that, if someone did miss it for whatever reason, they could simply play the recording at their convenience. That means nobody will ever have to miss a meeting again.
Employees are not the only problem when they don’t show up for a meeting. Appointment Plus did a No Show White Paper which highlighted the fact that customer no-shows result in lost income, while also imposing intangible costs on the company. The study found that appointment reminders can decrease no-shows by up to 50%. Of course, the same applies to meetings with employees. Online meeting software offers two ways of reducing no-shows or tardiness, firstly, by its ability to conduct meetings anywhere, and secondly, by making it so easy to schedule both meetings and reminders.
In today’s busy business world, it is often hard for people to get away to attend a meeting, no matter how important it is. Online meetings can help you save travel time, thus enabling you to get away to attend those meetings that must be done face-to-face.
2. Nobody can misinterpret another person’s body language during an online meeting
Only 7% of what is said, is verbal. The rest is implied (or rather, perceived by the other parties) via tone of voice and nonverbal cues such as body language. However, in many cases, people read more into body language than what is intended, and this leads to misunderstandings that affect working relationships and indirectly, productivity. Online meetings make it easier to conduct meetings, particularly in companies where there are known personality clashes between certain individuals.
3. You can’t lose that vital gem of info on the whiteboard
Have you ever conducted a live meeting, vigorously scribbling down crucial points on the whiteboard? There is always that moment when a bit of absolute brilliance shoots forth when you are at the height of your presentation and you eagerly write it down to a chorus of “hmms” and nodding from the audience. But alas, you forget it at the next meeting, because it was written on the whiteboard that has been erased many times since.
When you use the whiteboard tools in your online meeting software, you can instantly save all your scribbles and notes when inspiration strikes. Click to save a copy of your whiteboard notes to your desktop and rest assured that you have everything covered.
4. One person won’t distract the entire audience
During live meetings, when someone coughs, leaves the room, or whispers on their cell phone, it usually causes general disruption. However, if anyone does any of that during an online meeting, nobody else hears or sees it. An online meeting participant can mute themselves and quickly respond to their cellphone ringing, without any other participants noticing. That means that more people are listening intently to what is said, and focuses on what happens on the screen, instead of looking around the room at their colleagues, or out the window. A captivating on-screen presentation has the tendency to draw people’s attention, which is always helpful.
5. Decisions do not have to be delayed
Since online meetings bring people together across great distances, there is no need to delay major decisions until every important player can be consulted. Kristen Gil credits the efficacy of Google’s meetings to the fact that every meeting has a decision-maker present. In companies where decision makers often travel, it only makes sense that meetings should be virtual. Multiple short, focused, virtual meetings held instantly from anywhere with only the people who need to be part of the decision or project discussion present, saves everyone time and results in more concise discussions and outcomes.
6. Companies can save on the cost of meetings
At the same time, companies can save on valuable resources by implementing online meetings. Since the company does not have to provide infrastructure for online meetings, it offers numerous cost-saving benefits, such as room rental. An in-house room that stands empty apart from one day out of 30 for a monthly meeting, can be put to better use as a storage room, office space, or similar. When you hold online meetings, there is no need to supply refreshments – another cost-saving factor and money that could be put to better use elsewhere.
These are just some of the important ways in which online meetings save time, frustration, money and help enhance productivity. Does your company do online meetings? We’d love to hear what your reasons are for this preference.