As we all know by now, there are many different ways to conduct a meeting. In the days before the internet, people needed to be in 1 room at the same time for a meeting to take place. However, thanks to technology, webinars, teleconferences and video conferences have become the norm.
This does not mean to say that traditional meetings are obsolete. In fact, there are many people who prefer the traditional 1-room meeting compared to webinars and video conferencing. If you’re not convinced, read on below to find out why traditional meetings are better than webinars.
Better Audience Engagement
If you’re looking for a better way to keep audience engaged, traditional meetings are the way to go. In this type of meetings, attendees need to arrive on time so that they won’t miss the start. Attendees that come late risk missing important information.
Traditional meetings encourage participants to not only to stay engaged but also focused. It’s easy to goof off or be distracted with webinars. For instance, webinars can be watched at home or during office hours where other people might not be participating. This means they could come to your home office or cubicle anytime to distract you.
During traditional meetings, attendees need to respond as soon as the information is delivered. They need to react, answer questions or ask questions as discussions flow. The same cannot be said for webinars especially if it is recorded ahead of time. Live meetings demand audience concentration in order to stay engaged and to absorb important information.
Face-to-face meetings will never go out of style because they provide exceptional value. When you are meeting with people personally you do not only get to discuss issues personally, but you also get first-hand feedback.
For example, if the meeting is for demonstrating a new product it is natural for participants to have a lot of questions. It is easier to answer questions live compared to doing so via telephone or the internet. Aside from this, live meetings are great for getting feedback from participants. It lets you know what’s working, how they are feeling and it is easier for you to gauge their reactions and adjust the meeting accordingly if some of them are uncomfortable.
Most of all, personal touch is still important to many attendees. When attendees see speakers face-to-face, they feel connected. They can see the other parties laugh, hear them clearly and comment directly.
We have all heard the saying action speaks louder than words. During webinars attendees can see the speaker’s body language but not the other way around. It can be hard to gauge audience reaction when you can’t see it.
Are you boring them? Can they understand what you’re trying to say? Are they having a hard time catching up to the discussion? You can’t see this when you’re in a webinar. Therefore it is hard not only for speakers to react but for attendees too.
Non-verbal cues make audience trust you. For example, eye contact and good posture communicate sincerity and confidence. Some very important non-verbal patterns include: facial expression, tone of voice, posture and gesture. It is easier to portray these actions on a face-to-face meeting compared to webinars.
For example, if you want to compliment an attendee you can personally give them a pat on the back aside from a verbal praise. This raises their morale as well and makes them feel that they have contributed or achieved something worthwhile.
Most of all, non-verbal communication is important because it helps to express our emotions. We can understand each other more quickly if we can see each other’s expression. For example, if somebody is yawning in a meeting, it can mean that they are losing focus and might need a break to walk around and wake up. Reading these non-verbal cues makes communication between attendees clearer while reinforcing interpersonal relationships.
To The Point
Traditional meetings are to-the-point. This is not to say that face-to-face meetings are short, it just means that communication between speakers and attendees is less labored so everybody can get the point of the meeting more quickly.
This is because face-to-face meetings are clearer compared to webinars. You can easily understand what the speaker is talking about. In instances where an attendee cannot understand, clarifications and questions are easier and faster to express.
In meetings, it is natural for discussions to occur. However, it can be difficult to have a spirited debated when people are not in the same room. This is perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks of webinars, teleconferences and video meetings. It’s hard to express yourself to the other people and participants because you’re basically interacting with a machine.
Face-to-face meetings have the advantage of not only being able to see and read speakers and attendees expressions and emotions; you can also talk to them directly and react accordingly.
Aside from discussions, traditional meetings can also lead to opportunities. For example, new ideas, concepts and networks can be discovered during discussions. This kind of opportunity is hard to come by in webinars because communication can be confusing. In webinars participants are usually turned into listeners and not active attendees.
No Tech Issues
Say goodbye to messy wires, camera set-ups, wonky internet connection, confusing apps and other tech glitches with traditional meetings. Yes, that’s right! Since this type of meeting is face-to-face, there’s no need to fiddle with technology.
That does not mean to say that technology has no place in the conference room. Technology makes meetings easier. PowerPoint presentations, audio-visual equipment, laptops, tablets and even smartphones have their place in meetings. Making sure that all gadgets and equipment are functioning well is important for meetings to be successful.
However, using this kind of equipment for webinars has higher chances of failure. For example, the internet connection might be good in your location but not good in others. When connection is intermittent, it affects the whole attendee’s experience. He or she might have missed important points or got distracted because the audio equipment weren’t working properly and they couldn’t hear.
You don’t have this kind of problems in a traditional meeting. Yes, microphones and audio visual equipment might malfunction but a well prepared event organizer will have spare ones on hand. You won’t have a problem with being seen by attendees too since they are in the same space as you are. This means that traditional meetings have less chances of failing due to technological problems.
It can be hard to build relationships with colleagues when you’re in a big company. There are simply too many co-workers so getting to know everybody can be hard. Meetings are probably one of the venues where co-workers can interact with each other. It’s a chance to exchange news, widen networks and get to know new people.
It’s hard to do this when you’re in a webinar. You are isolated in your location and only interact with the screen. The speaker can’t see you so he or she is basically just an image on the screen. It’s just like watching TV. While it is true that webinars are effective for some types of training, it cannot help forge relationships between co-workers or participants.
Building relationships within the workplace is important. Strong relationships between co-workers result in better teamwork, and a harmonious workplace. Aside from this, businesses where employees are happy are more productive. Therefore, letting employees mingle, get to know each other and become friends can have better results for your business.
First impressions are everything and we only have a few seconds to make a good one. When you meet a person for the first time, you immediately want to figure out what their character is. You form these ideas by looking at the way they talk, dress, stand and compose themselves.
This is harder to do via video. During webinars, speakers are usually shown from the shoulders up when they are talking. If you’re the speaker you only have a limited screen size and this seriously curtails the way you can make a good first impression. Aside from this, you have no idea whether or not you’re making a good impression. You don’t know how your audience is reacting so you don’t know how to adjust accordingly.
First impressions are important because it has the ability to make or break a business. A good first impression also has the power of creating a long lasting relationship. This is perhaps the reason why traditional meetings always leave a bigger impression for attendees and speakers. Speakers are able to impress their audience effectively while attendees are able to gauge the speaker’s ability and character immediately.
First impressions are especially important when you want to pitch an idea. If you notice sales people, they are usually charismatic and it is this characteristic that makes them make the sale. This is harder to do when you are on video. If you notice channels where they sell products, they usually rely on the demonstration part to do the selling. The sales person is usually just there for the voice over of the demo.
Webinars are a good communication tool. They work best as training aids for employees or as sales tools. Webinars are also an ideal alternative if you want to cut cost since participants can tune in anywhere in the world. It provides flexibility to attendees and is an ideal tool if you want to spread the word quickly. However, they are lacking as business meeting tools.
Traditional meetings will never go out of style. Hard conversations are easier to do when you are face-to-face with other concerned parties because details won’t get lost in translation or in this case internet cables. It is easier to debate, discuss and solve problems when you are in the same room with people that matter.
Before deciding whether to hold a traditional meeting, webinar, teleconference or video conference, think about your business relationship. Will the group benefit more from a traditional meeting or a tech-powered one?
Both traditional meetings and webinars have their own pros and cons. However, if you want to build better relationships, communicate more effectively and build stronger relationships, traditional meetings are the way to go.
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