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. 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?

Will A Virtual Meeting Work For You?

How many of you have participated in a webinar or virtual meeting in the last 12 months? I would guess that many of you have. What did you think? Was it a positive experience? I’ve participated in several, including one in which I was actually part of the presentation and my experiences have been mixed.

Ready or not, virtual meetings are here. They are big in the marketing world and are expanding into other niches. Since they are solely online (or on the phone), they are quite different than other meetings. Does this mean they are better or worse than onsite meetings? Well, that depends. Below is a list of pros and cons to help you decide what may work best for you and your organization.

Virtual meetings can certainly be more convenient for your guests. Anyone with an Internet connection can attend with just the click of a button. Your attendees don’t have to travel, no hotel arrangements need to be made and they can even attend the meeting in their favorite pajamas.

A virtual meeting can be easier to plan. After you have your speaker(s) and topic nailed down, just sign up for a virtual meeting service (a popular one is GoToMeeting), market the way you normally would and send people the date, time and website to join in. That’s basically it.

For these reasons, virtual meetings or conferences can be less expensive for you and your guests. Your marketing costs might stay the same, but the meeting provider websites offer affordable packages, there’s no food to buy and you don’t have to worry about travel arrangements and costs. And, since your guests don’t have to worry about travel costs, it’s also much less expensive for them as well.

Guests at a virtual meeting are present, but not really there. It might be easier for people to lose interest or stop paying attention when watching/hearing someone speak online. (For me personally, I find it way too easy to mentally check out of an online meeting.) This can have a definite negative impact on the learning taking place. Presenters have to keep this in mind when planning and speaking so they can try to keep their viewers attention.

Since attendees at a webinar are not physically there, networking is difficult and building relationships is next to impossible. An important part of meetings and events is networking, so this is a significant negative for virtual meetings.

Internet issues can be a major pain in the neck with virtual meetings. Your company may have technical difficulties. It’s also likely that at least one or two of your guests will have a problem connecting to the meeting, will get dropped from the meeting because of Internet issues, or that their computer simply won’t let them sign in at all. These annoyances are frustrating for everyone involved.

So, what do you think? Can a virtual meeting work for you?