Online meetings help save money, but…

A successful business is all about successful relationships. At this time, in light of constraints and financial losses, the challenge is to decide how we can most effectively create and develop business relationships. Given the technology currently available, can we afford to cut costs by holding online meetings? Or are social costs more important than financial benefits?

Saving travel money can cost you… business

In a study published by Forbes in the Insights section a few years ago, 760 company executives were interviewed. They shared some important truths that are extremely relevant today. Even with budget cuts, it was decided that face-to-face meetings were more than preferable. They are essential for developing deeper and more profitable relationships with both business partners and customers. They also agreed that in-company communication and face-to-face meetings are best for maintaining productive relationships with colleagues. Big CISO conferences 2023 are prime examples of why such meetings or events need to be held in person.

Many feel the same today, despite the modern technology of online meetings. An important question related to business development opportunities is the question “Why?”.

And here are three reasons.

  1. Smoothing sharp corners

The Forbes article notes that the time of informal meetings is the time well spent in communication with colleagues and clients. Today we do the same. Most in-person meetings include at least a continental breakfast and coffee breaks. These periodic breaks built into the agenda give us something more than just rest. They also allow us to develop interpersonal connections.

With the help of the Zoom program, companies reduce the cost of conference rooms and catering but lose a lot on communication. There are no coffee breaks on Zoom. Of course, the Zoom chat room could open earlier, but how can you build personal connections with a group of people who may be complete strangers to each other?

In addition, there is no possibility of side conversations or one-on-one chats on the virtual platform, especially when there are also other people that you would like to meet in person.

Even breakout rooms are usually not conducive to one-on-one conversations. Sure, there’s a chat box, but half of the participants don’t know it’s there or are too busy multitasking to use it. Not to mention, many presenters turn it off to ensure full attention to the agenda of the meeting.

  1. The Importance of Small Talk

The content of the conversation is very important to us. Everyone knows that not all business conversations are about business.

An article by Rene Shimada Siegel in INC.[ii] draws attention to a concept that we can all relate to as an essential component of face-to-face meetings: the value of what Siegel calls “not-so-small talk.” Siegel notes that unlike business conversations, which focus on solving problems, business relationships are formed through getting to know each other, which is much easier to do in person.

For practical reasons, in communication during business meetings, we understand the difference between meaningful and social, but which is more useful interpersonally? Once you find common themes, sharing memories and stories will overshadow the conversations about trading. And oddly enough, it’s these small talk that often lead to strong business relationships.

  1. Divided Attention

No matter how hard we try, but in practice it is impossible to sit still for hours on end, looking at a computer camera. Instead, most likely, over time, you will either begin to mentally distract yourself or start doing something else. Both options are undesirable.

And remember that you are not fooling anyone when you turn off the camera. Other members may take it as if you want to take a break. Alas, virtual meetings do not involve breaks.

The downside here is that in all situations, from personal to professional, we build chemistry and rapport through attention. And on platforms like Zoom, divided attention is a real scourge. Even more likely, inattention, which is only aggravated, because already long meetings can drag on.

Complement the virtual with the personal

Whether you’re meeting new colleagues virtually at online events, consider continuing to meet in person. It may not be enough just to click the mouse, as in a Zoom chat room, but you can make the most of both sites. Because the best business relationships are personal!