Every day, the business world becomes increasingly interconnected through digital means. Sometimes, the value of face-to-face interaction gets overshadowed by the convenience of video conference meetings. However, in a hybrid work environment in which virtual meetings have become the norm, there are still distinct advantages to hosting physical meetings that online meetings simply can't offer.
Let's take a look at the benefits of embracing the conference room, even in a hybrid work environment.
What Types of Meetings Are Better in Person Than Online?
Whether you conduct a meeting in person or virtually can drastically affect that gathering's tone, impact, and takeaways. So, which types of meetings lend themselves best to remote methods, and which team meetings should you hold in person?
Picture this: a one-on-one meeting conducted in the flesh. A face-to-face meeting offers a deeper level of genuineness that a chat through a screen simply can't mimic. And it's not just these personal interactions that shine in person; brainstorming sessions, team-building activities, and discussions about sensitive issues also benefit when you hold them in person.
On the flip side, routine check-ins, brief updates, and presentations may retain optimal efficiency in a remote setting. The key to optimizing productivity is to recognize which meetings thrive in physical space versus those that can comfortably take place in the digital realm.
3 Benefits of In-Person Meetings You Should Know
The business world's increasing reliance on digital connections highlights the virtues of meeting in person in three significant ways.
1. Fosters a Human Connection
In-person meetings foster connections between participants that transcend pixels. There's an authenticity to in-person human interaction that enhances trust, rapport, and relationship building. From casual conversations over coffee to subtle gestures of empathy, the human touch in these meetings can create strong relationships that virtual interactions struggle to match.
2. Enhances Effective Communication Through Non-Verbal Cues
Who can deny the power of eye contact, subtle gestures, and other unspoken signals that nonetheless carry volumes of meaning? These nuances in communication, largely detectable only during in-person meetings, convey a treasure trove of information. Body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, and even the ambiance of the room contribute considerably to providing and understanding accurate and complete messages. These small but powerful nonverbal communication cues tend to fall by the wayside during virtual meetings.
3. Creates the Psychological Safety Needed for Full Engagement
There's an intangible safety net woven within face-to-face meetings that encourages open dialogue, honest communication, and uninhibited contribution. Sharing a safe space with team members amplifies the feeling of being present, valued, and heard. Building trust in this way facilitates more engaged and participative discussions.
Key Considerations To Master In-Person Productive Meetings
Now, let's make sure those in-person meetings aren't just reserved to fill the calendar but are truly productive.
Create a Purposeful Agenda
Be clear on the meeting's objectives. An agenda lets everyone know why you want to meet in person, what's expected of them, and how their contributions will matter.
Practice Mindful Inclusivity
Create a workplace experience in which everyone feels comfortable participating. Encourage diverse perspectives and actively engage all attendees to gain a deeper understanding of the topic at hand from every angle.
Be Logistically Prepared
Time is valuable. Arrange the logistics of the meeting, like location, facilities, attendees, and resources to maximize productivity.
Follow Up After the Meeting
Recap the discussions, action items, and next steps. This keeps the meeting's momentum going and facilitates accountability.
Be Aware of Proximity Bias
While embracing the benefits of in-person meetings, it's crucial to remain cognizant of proximity bias. This unintentional favoritism often leans toward favoring individuals who work in closer physical proximity, which can lead to inadvertently sidelining remote team members or quieter participants. It's important to create an inclusive atmosphere where all voices are heard, regardless of physical proximity. Encouraging equal participation allows you to harness the entire team's collective wisdom and prevent unfairness.
In a hybrid work arrangement where the lines between physical and virtual tend to blur, the essence of in-person meetings still stands out as a vital element. Conducting meetings in person nurtures connections, improves communication, and creates an environment where everyone feels heard, seen, and valued. Striking the right balance between physical and digital interactions is the key to unlocking the full potential of a hybrid workplace in our ever-evolving work landscape!