16th March 2012

Face to Face or Virtual Meetings in Social Networking Age?

With the influx of new technologies like online messaging, Skype and Videophones, there appears to be less and less need for face-to-face interactions. This is especially true in the business environment where time runs short and we’re faced with a continually cramped schedule.

In this increasingly busy environment, technology seems to be the solution to our time constraints. But is it also costing you? There are still people who maintain the necessity for face-to-face meetings.

So which is it?

I’ve come across two blogs recently that provide completely polar views. So now I’m also considering the pros and cons of both methods.

Rene Shimada Siegel points out the importance of traditional meetings. That’s it: in person.

She makes a strong case about how face-to-face meetings allow for a stronger, and easily, rapport to be built. And she is clearly right because in person you can:

-          Guage body language
-          React spontaneously to cues
-          Make a stronger impression
-          Keep it genuine

And yet there’s also the dilemma, as Balaji Viswanathan pointed out, face to face meetings can be:

-          Impractical
-          Unproductive
-          Inefficient
-          Distracting

He concludes that whilst face to face meetings for relationship building is important, it should be kept to a minimum, and only when necessary such as dealing with major problems or signing a contract. As for other times? He maintains that virtual meetings will do just fine—and in his words, with the proper online mannerisms, “personal feelings and warmth can be communicated as easily by electrons as they can be done by photons.”

Both Rene and Balaji make compelling cases; and both of them are completely on track. So which is it? Do you agree with Rene, or Balaji, or perhaps a hybrid strategy of both? And if so, to what extent should each be used, and on what occasions?

My view is that they are both right. That it is Virtual AND face to face. A combination of both. What do you think?

Love to hear from you. What are your experiences?

Discover B2B Lead Generation with Social Media for your business.

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About Toby Marshall

Creating Customer Communities for companies selling B2B is my passion—shortening their sales cycle and building market leadership. My role sets the direction and vision of Lead Creation, tapping into the online experience of our large team of young professionals to implement cost effective strategies for B2B businesses.

One thought on “Face to Face or Virtual Meetings in Social Networking Age?

  1. Face-to-face meetings are personalized and more successful when it comes to discussing confidential matters that would run the risk of appearing trivialized via the internet.But all in all, most meetings are convenient to hold via skype, video conferencing and email; as these media transcend physical boundaries.

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