The Pros And Cons Of Virtual Meetings

Organizations these days are becoming multinational; some are becoming multisite; and with better Internet capabilities, some are becoming multi-coffee-shop.

Having multiple sites has lead to meetings being conducted virtually.  And the best thing about that is the technology has caught up as well.

Why would you have a virtual meeting?

  1. Different locations.  The great part is you don’t have to leave that coffee shop to meet with your co-workers.
  2. Stay connected to co-workers.  Meetings can be painful; but, with all these locations, staying connected to the work that needs to be done is necessary.  Virtual meetings can solve that.
  3. Get more work done.  The inverse is true of the above point as well.  Virtual meetings make you stay on point which helps you stay focused on getting more work done.

While all of these points are nice, there are a couple of downsides to virtual meetings.

  1.  With a virtual meeting, attendees can get distracted.  This holds true with any meeting, but it’s easy to type an email or finish some blog reading during a virtual meeting because on camera it just looks like you’re “taking notes.”
  2. Lack of creative energy.  There is just something about a full team being all together in one room that spurs creativity.  The creativity generated in a virtual setting can be different than when you are seeing everybody face-to-face.

We’ve talked about pros and cons with virtual meetings.  Now, let’s talk about the technology that is available for these.  I love Apple, but their FaceTime app on any Mac only allows for a conversation with one person…and the other person has to have an Apple product.  If you have those two variables, I think it’s better than the other apps we’ll discuss.

Skype is great for big meetings.  It’s a trusted technology that is free (unless you’re calling internationally) and works across Mac and Windows platforms.

GoToMeeting.com is a very robust system and is great for larger groups.  The biggest difference between these and the apps listed above is that there is a cost.  But remember that old adage: you get what you pay for.

When your organization does virtual meetings, what do you use?  How has it worked for your team?

Your Thoughts?

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