This model is on the rise and allows teams to balance all the benefits of in-person meetings with the ability to manage their personal and professional schedules.
This change that seems to represent the future of work has raised many questions including What is the future of business meetings? Will all of our meetings be virtual meetings? When are face-to-face business meetings better?
Well, the answer is that there are many scenarios when in-person business meetings are more conducive and effective than virtual meetings.
Great Innovators of our time like Steve Jobs also agree that creativity comes from spontaneous meetings, and random discussions and that no amount of technology/ innovation can swipe out the face to face interaction.
As it turns out, according to a study by Great Business Schools, 84% of people still say they prefer in-person meetings. Humans are social animals, designed to interact with each other and benefit from in-person meetings in several ways.
While virtual meetings are still a lifeline for businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for decentralized teams as they still have the tools they need to stay connected and collaborate over vast distances in ways that wouldn’t have been practical just a few years ago, in-person meetings still serve a great purpose.
In-person meetings drive effective communication as long as it is well-planned, structured, and organised. In-person meetings will go a long way in keeping colleagues engaged and upbeat. They also offer a room for seeking clarification, and make good use of gestures to communicate confidence and expertise.
Imagine how much you understand a person from their body language alone – from posture to indicate openness, to eye contact to showcase trust. Face-to-face communication also offers you an opportunity to engage even further after the meeting.
These are things that virtual meetings can be limiting when making a first impression. You have less of an opportunity to do something nice for someone, get to know their preferences, or offer genuine compliments
Getting team members together for brainstorming sessions is a great way to come up with new ideas, concepts, and different ways of doing business. Team meetings give you the opportunity to debate, challenge each other, draw incomprehensible mindmaps on the whiteboard, and find previously unexplored paths towards business success.
In-person meetings inspire creativity. There’s something about bouncing ideas with one another in person that sparks better solutions. On average, this research shows an in-person meeting is said to generate about 13 ideas, whereas a virtual meeting will only generate around 10.
Also, many individuals tend to be much more efficient when they are outside their comfort zones. This is because distractions are less. Lesser distractions improve focus and concentration. This, in turn, aids many people to contribute productively in brainstorming sessions.
In today’s office set-up, some meeting rooms are equipped with amazing facilities that allow you to bounce your ideas off. In our case our Westlands space meeting rooms are fixed with Kinetic Whiteboards making it so easy to drive creative thinking and collaboration with teams.
In-person meetings have always been a central way to create meaningful connections between people. Meeting new or long-lost industry colleagues and sharing updates about work projects allows teams to recognize parallels between seemingly disparate projects, which forges new associations that bring about creative insights.
Think about how many people advance in their careers through a chance encounter, an overheard conversation, or an unexpected question to which they were exposed to a unique answer? In a nutshell, such fortunate situations are known as “serendipity.”
However, when the pandemic first sent meetings to the virtual medium, many struggled to provide those serendipitous moments to attendees, diminishing the meeting experience. Business people need serendipity and in-person meetings drive this
Face-to-face meetings cement existing social bonds and strengthen relationships. They create time and space for informal small talk that can feel inappropriate or insincere in a more formal videoconferencing situation.
A casual chat about football, food, or Netflix before or after an in-person meeting can be just as vital to fostering a good business relationship as anything on the agenda. That’s the difference between meeting and connecting.
An in-person meeting also demonstrates that you value your client’s time and business by showing that you’re willing to make space in your schedule for them. That respect cuts both ways.
The clients that take the time to see you in person, rather than just click on an invite link, are your strongest business relations.
When technical glitches occur, we know meetings go south, altogether. The labored nature of virtual meetings often misses the interpersonal communications that happen in face-to-face meetings.
Most of the virtual meetings are filled with technical difficulties that seem to be unavoidable. From dealing with frozen videos to barely hearing the person speaking due to poor audio, bad connections, navigating the various tools in teleconferencing software, power black-outs and dealing with trying to find the best spots to have your meeting, video calls can end up putting a damper on the entire mood of a meeting instead of being convenient.
For more seamless sessions, in-person meetings are by far better. Not to mention that you get to enjoy your coffee table discussions that give you a better perspective or ideas on how to deliver results.
Due to unsavory Internet scams and the like, unsolicited emails are usually thought of as suspicious, whereas meeting with a new client in person shows your good intentions and authenticity.
You took the time out of your busy day to meet with them face-to-face, establishing a sense of trust with potential clients.
Research shows that person-to-person business meetings are more likely to yield successful results for both parties involved than online interactions.
With all of this in mind, how will in-person meetings take place in this new world? Definitely, the old rules of hosting face-to-face meetings will no longer apply. Instead, new social distancing guidelines and reduced room capacities mean we’ll have to change up our habits to collaborate effectively and safely.
Here are a few ideas to ensure your in-person meetings are as safe as they can be.
Ensure everyone is masked up during the session. You can achieve this by placing a single-use mask at each participant’s seat to quietly communicate that the room is a “masks on” area, avoiding any confusion and potentially awkward requests. You can also opt to have a ‘Mask-on’ sticker at the meeting room door to serve as a reminder.
We’re back to Social Distancing 101 here, but to maintain a six-foot distance between everybody at the meeting, you should space out or remove alternate chairs. Stagger the chairs on either side of the table in a zigzag fashion, so that no two people are sitting directly across from one another. At Nairobi Garage for example, our meeting rooms have been reconfigured to provide more space per person, so you don’t have to worry about moving furniture around before attendees arrive.
According to CDC research, COVID-19 spreads more easily indoors, partly because of the lack of natural airflow. If you’re able to and it’s safe, open a window or a door to allow fresh air to circulate throughout the room. In our case, the Nairobi Garage Meeting rooms are fitted with air conditioning equipment’s to help track and improve indoor air quality.
This was great advice even before the pandemic: Have shorter meetings. Share the agenda with your team ahead of time so they have a chance to review it. Stay focused and steer the conversation back on topic if participants are becoming distracted. End with clear action points and aim to wrap the whole thing up in under 30 minutes. According The less time you spend inside the meeting room, the more time your team has to be productive, and the less chance there is of transmitting the virus.In an article by Havard Business school very few business meetings achieve anything of value after two hours, and 30 minutes to one hour is enough time to allocate for most purposes
Until traditional office spaces adapt and adjust to safer, socially distanced measures, coworking/flexible shared spaces are designed with in-person meetings in mind.
Even if you are running your business from home, Nairobi Garage offers you the flexibility to rent a conference room with all of the business equipment and amenities you need to run a successful in-person meeting.
In-person meetings may be even more important now in an increasingly virtual business landscape. We’re currently running a 50% discount on our Club Space, Coworking & meeting room options. Get to enjoy state of the art quality at an affordable rate if you book in December. You can book in December to enjoy the offer even in January. Enjoy The 50% Discount here.