How to have a successful team meeting

Team Meetings: In-Person Vs. Virtual

Learn how to correctly choose the meeting that works best for your company! Gather in person or virtually to pass on the necessary information for a successful meeting!
Hubilo
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December 8, 2022

Corporate companies have proven that meetings can be held either in-person or virtually, and both have the ability to succeed! Meetings, both in-person and virtual, can be held any place or time, depending on the schedules of your attendees. There are benefits to hosting both types of meetings, and this guide will explain how to plan both types of meetings effectively.

In-Person Meetings

In-person meetings are meetings that are held in person, either in a conference room or a meeting room! People from all over can gather under the same roof and help to brainstorm ideas, meet new people or communicate more effectively. In-person meetings have benefits to meeting face to face, as opposed to meeting virtually.

In-Person Meeting Benefits

  • <span class="mid-size-title">Fluid Conversations</span>

In-person meetings allow your guests to have genuine and fluid conversations with their colleagues that can lead to long-lasting relationships! Once you build that trust with your colleagues, you may be able to help each other both personally and professionally. This should be a deciding factor when trying to decide which type of meeting to host if guest communication is one of your meeting goals.

  • <span class="mid-size-title">Brainstorm New Ideas</span>

Your company may be in need of new ideas, and gathering all of the minds together in person can help with the brainstorming! With in-person meetings, your guests have the ability to talk to many people at once, and the ideas can flow more naturally. With virtual meetings, only one person can talk at a time, which may not allow every person to say their new idea.

  • <span class="mid-size-title">Fewer Technical Disruptions</span>

As we have all seen, there can be technical difficulties when in a virtual meeting! When you host your meeting in person, there will be no technical issues like a malfunctioning microphone or bad wifi. Everybody can talk as they need to loud and clearly and won’t have to worry about talking over somebody.

  • <span class="mid-size-title">Pick Up On Body Language And Social Cues</span>

It may be hard in virtual meetings to pick up on things like body language and social cues from your guests. These types of things allow your meeting hosts to see that their guests are fully engaged with the meeting and if they understand exactly what is being said. When you gather your guests in person, you can make eye contact with your guests and even have them ask questions if they don’t understand something. Body language is also a huge indicator to see if your guests are comfortable within the meeting.

  • <span class="mid-size-title">Build More Trust Between Your Guests</span>

When you attend in-person meetings, you have the ability to make eye contact and shake hands with your colleagues. It may seem like such a small gesture, but it actually means a lot in the business world! The relationships and the trust you create with people at your meeting can last a lifetime, and the business opportunities that can be created are endless.

Advantages of virtual meetings

Virtual Meetings

Much like in-person meetings, virtual meetings have advantages that will benefit attendees. While you might be worn out from the “Zoom fatigue,” your meeting will be successful with these advantages!

Virtual Meeting Benefits

  • <span class="mid-size-title">Time</span>

During the day, your time is very precious! When it comes to attending meetings, you want to receive the information you need and then go on about your day. Virtual meetings cut out any travel time for the guests, especially if they live out of state or even the country. Meeting hosts won’t have to arrange the schedules for everyone attending, like dealing with time zones. The meeting can be made at a time that works for everyone, and the guests can attend from wherever they are in the world.

  • <span class="mid-size-title">Distance</span>

As discussed above, your meeting may have guests attending from all of the world! If the meeting isn’t imperative, it would be silly for them to travel all the way to your company to attend. Dealing with distance and different time zones can be difficult for everyone involved, so you don’t have to make your guests travel crazy distances!

  • <span class="mid-size-title">Cheaper To Plan</span>

When you host a virtual meeting, you don’t have to spend money on things like hotel rooms, transportation and meals for guests who might need to fly in. If you have many guests flying in, the costs of all of the items needed to house everybody can add up quickly! Virtual meetings help you save money while still giving your guests the information they need.

  • <span class="mid-size-title">Cut Out The Small Talk</span>

With virtual meetings, you typically have an agenda or timeline that you need to follow. When you have this agenda, it truly forces the meeting hosts and guests to focus on the subject at hand. This eliminates the need for any small talk or chit chat. If you feel the need for your guests to have a networking portion, they can chat during that time.

4 Key Differences Between In-Person And Virtual Meetings

Now that we have talked about the advantages of each type of meeting, we need to discuss the differences between the two! While these differences aren’t necessarily bad, they can be the deciding factor for when you begin to plan your company meeting.

  1. <span class="mid-size-title">Speed</span>

Virtual meetings, in terms of speed, are much faster than in-person meetings. Guests can click a link, enter their information and they are immediately in the meeting- virtually no time is wasted as they enter the meeting! However, there are technical issues that can slow down a virtual meeting. Microphones and cameras not working or wifi issues can slow down the meeting and delay any learnings. With in-person meetings, guests may need to physically commute to the meeting place, which can take some time! Traffic and finding a parking spot can take up time as your guests are coming to the meeting, which can delay the meeting itself.

  1. <span class="mid-size-title">Cost</span>

As we discussed above, the cost of an in-person event can be expensive. There are many factors that you need to consider when planning the in-person event, such as hotels, transportation, meals and snacks! Depending on how many people are attending your event, you could be shelling out thousands of dollars for all of your guests. With virtual meetings, you hardly have to spend anything. One thing you do need to ensure is that the guests at home have the equipment to successfully attend your event, like a computer and a working camera and microphone. 

  1. <span class="mid-size-title">Human Presence</span>

In-person meetings have everyone gathered together, which creates a strong bond between everyone. The relationships you build at an in-person meeting can last a lifetime and there may even be business opportunities that come from it! Meeting hosts can also pick up on body language or social cues of their guests, and if something isn’t working, the hosts can change the course of the meeting. Virtual meetings typically only have one person talking at a time, which might not give everybody a chance to talk. Another thing with virtual meetings is the use of cameras. You may have guests who don’t turn their camera on, so you can see their faces or even put a name to a face. The human interaction is less with virtual meetings as opposed to an in-person meeting.

  1. <span class="mid-size-title">Efficiency</span>

Virtual meetings, while they are typically shorter than in-person meetings, have an agenda that they follow. When you eliminate the small talk within virtual events, it becomes easier for meeting hosts to stay on track with the topics at hand. In-person meetings are more relaxed than virtual meetings, as the guests can mingle and make small talk before and after the meeting. With this small talk, however, the guests can prolong the meeting, which may delay the start time. 

How To Decide Between In-Person Meetings And Virtual Meetings

There may be times when you’re planning a meeting and you find a virtual meeting might work better than an in-person meeting and vice versa. Here are some tips to help you decide which type of meeting will work best for your company.

  • <span class="mid-size-title">Consider The Nature Of The Meeting</span>

There are two types of meetings that can determine if you need to have a virtual or an in-person meeting, a task based meeting and a relationship based meeting. If you wish to have a task based meeting, you will want to have a virtual meeting. Task based meetings eliminate the small talk and banter, and everyone in the meeting can focus on the tasks and topics at hand. With a relationship based meeting, you can have your guests talk to one another, face to face, during an in-person meeting. The face to face meetings, along with eye contact and handshakes, tend to focus more on the building of trust and relationships between the guests. 

  •   <span class="mid-size-title">Follow The Latest Guidelines For Public Gatherings</span>

While the guidelines for gatherings have eased in the past few months, we are still in a pandemic. When it comes to meetings in person, you will need to look for the latest guidelines regarding gatherings of any size. You may need to spread out the chairs further than you normally would, or even require your guests to wear masks. Be sure to have hand sanitizer present so guests can sanitize their hands as well!

How to choose between virtual or in person meetings
  • <span class="mid-size-title">Topic Complexity</span>

When you host an in-person meeting, you are able to solve more complex problems, as everybody can work together in a closed setting. These problems can be rather large in nature, and sometimes it just calls for people to gather in person to try and solve the problem at hand. The problems or issues might be too big or complex for people to meet virtually, and there may be technical issues that might delay the problem solving!

  • <span class="mid-size-title">Determine Which Will Be More Inclusive</span>

Your meeting may have guests from all over the world that may need to join. If this is the case, a virtual meeting will be the way to go! This will eliminate the need for them flying in and the cost of a hotel, transportation and meals. On the other hand, there are people who live in close proximity to the meeting venue, and they can easily travel. Both types of meetings are designed to bring people together, but a virtual meeting has the ability to gather more people from all over the world together.

  • <span class="mid-size-title">Does The Presenter Have The Skills And Technology To Hold A Meeting Online?</span>

Some presenters may need certain technology to present to the virtual meeting. Virtual meetings need to have a virtual event platform in order to run smoothly! They are also going to need a computer with a working camera and microphone, and the ability to share their computer screen. They are also going to need a strong wifi signal, as the wifi will allow the meeting to run smoothly. If they have all of this technology, the meeting can go off without a hitch!

  • <span class="mid-size-title">Confirm That The Host Is Prepared For The Meeting</span>

As you select your meeting hosts, don’t be afraid to ask if they are prepared to host the meeting! Ask them if their meeting technology is working and if their presentation is prepped and ready to go. Once meeting hosts know that their presenters are ready to go, the meeting can be held right away! 

In-Person Meetings Vs. Virtual Meetings: Which One Should You Use?

In-Person Virtual
Time Make it an all day event with networking, make it worth your guests’ while More efficient, cuts down on travel, not working against different time zones
Distance Allow people to come from all over, people who live closer are more likely to attend in person People make an effort to attend meeting, no traveling required, instantly join meeting from home
Pandemic Follow the current CDC guidelines, masking, spreading out seating Everyone can participate, some countries may be locked down, no traveling cuts down on guests getting sick
Inclusivity Anyone who can travel to the event can attend, no discrimination against anyone Everyone can attend, anyone who cannot make it to the in-person event can join virtual meeting
Cost Higher costs may mean a higher budget, spending money for hotels, food & transportation Because everyone is virtual, no need to pay for hotels or transportation for guests
Attention Market your event to your target audience, word of mouth for future events between guests at your event Digital marketing can be done to get the attention of your guests, email & social media marketing can showcase future events

Why You Might Need Both In-Person And Virtual Events

There may be times when your company needs to use both types of meetings. Here are a few examples of when you can use both types of meetings:

  • <span class="mid-size-title">Certain Topics Require In-Person Review Or Discussion</span>

When you host meetings, there may be certain topics that are particularly difficult to talk about. You may need an in-person meeting of the minds in order to solve the problems or issues at hand. While you gather guests in person, you may also have guests joining the meeting virtually; these people may be in a different state or event country, but they can still be a pivotal part of the meeting. Allowing the virtual guests to join in on the in-person meeting makes them feel like they are right in the room with everybody, while tackling the issues at hand!

  • <span class="mid-size-title">Virtual Meetings Offer More Flexibility</span>

When you plan an in-person meeting, it can be difficult to schedule around everybody else’s calendar. With a virtual meeting, you can plan the meeting with enough notice that guests can put it on their calendar immediately. Guests can participate in the meeting from wherever they are in the world. 

  • <span class="mid-size-title">In-Person Meetings Give You The Ability To Read Non-Verbal Cues</span>

You may not realize how useful non-verbal cues can be during meetings! Meeting hosts can look at their guests and recognize body language that may indicate they are uncomfortable with what is being presented. On the other hand, their body language may show meeting hosts that they are comfortable with what is being presented. The non-verbal cues show meeting hosts that the meeting is going in the right direction, or that something needs to change so that everyone is comfortable.

Examples Of Meetings That Would Be Better Off In-Person Vs. Virtual

In-Person Meetings

  • <span class="mid-size-title">Team Building</span>

Companies have meeting goals in which one the goals is for the guests to meet one another and build relationships and trust. These types of team meetings are better off being held in person, as you can make eye contact and shake hands with the people you are meeting. The guests meeting one another can create lifelong relationships and might even develop business relationships and opportunities. 

Best team building ideas
  • <span class="mid-size-title">Projects That Require More Abstract Thinking</span>

As we discussed above, there may be projects that require many minds coming together to discuss and brainstorm ideas. In-person meetings open the door for many people to talk at once, within smaller groups as they brainstorm ideas. Virtual meetings only allow for one person to speak at a time, and every person in the meeting might not get a chance to speak. Guests can bounce ideas off one another as they sit around a table, making eye contact with whomever is speaking. 

  • <span class="mid-size-title">Project Proposals</span>

There are new project proposals that should be presented during in-person meetings for a few reasons. For one, meeting hosts are able to see the genuine reactions of the guests when they announce the new product. These reactions can be good or bad, but at least they will be genuine! If there is a new product that is being presented, the guests can feel or test the product in person, which will give them a better picture of the product!

  • <span class="mid-size-title">Initial Meetings</span>

If you have a new company or a new team, you should have an initial meeting with everyone, so that everyone has a chance to meet! This allows all of the guests to meet their colleagues and learn a bit more about them. Once the initial meeting is over, the meetings going forward can either be virtual or in-person, depending on the preferences of your team.

Virtual Meetings

  • <span class="mid-size-title">Certain Client Meetings</span>

If your company is large and international, you may have colleagues that live in all parts of the world. It may be cumbersome to invite everyone to one event venue for a meeting. Hosting a virtual meeting in this instance would be the best case scenario, as your guests can attend the meeting from the comfort of their own home and guests can engage with one another. 

  • <span class="mid-size-title">Team Stand Ups</span>

During team stand ups, everyone on your team can have a chance to speak about the topic at hand. If you feel the need to, you can create a meeting agenda if you need to, to ensure that everyone stays on track with the topics. If there are any questions about anything, your team can ask the questions in a safe space, without feeling like they’re being judged.

  • <span class="mid-size-title">Check-Ins</span>

Team check-ins should be held weekly, to ensure that everyone is doing their part while working on projects. Team members should update the rest of the team on what they are working on, and how far along they are within the project. Like team stand ups, team members should ask any questions they have, to ensure that what they are working on is being done correctly. 

<span class="mid-size-title">Conclusion</span>

There are so many different instances where you need to choose whether an in-person or a virtual meeting is best for your company! In-person meetings are great for team bonding, building relationships and presenting any new products you may have. On the other hand, virtual meetings are best for gathering people who may live in different parts of the world. Keep in mind that virtual meetings can be delayed by technical issues, while in-person meetings can be delayed by small talk before the event begins. Whichever event you choose, you can be sure that your guests will receive the information they need while engaging in conversations with their colleagues.

Author
Hubilo

Hubilo is the event professional’s event platform for live, hybrid, and virtual events. Founded over 5 years ago to revolutionize engagement at in-person events, the company makes it easy to bring people together anywhere, anytime. Hubilo’s powerful engagement features, personal client experience team, and custom branding tools have helped create over 12K events and counting. Headquartered in Bangalore and San Francisco, Hubilo’s nearly 400 employees are dedicated to co-creating the world’s most important events: yours.

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