The Future of Face-to-Face Meetings
50% of the people will work remotely by 2020. If people are working from anywhere in the world, they can meet anywhere in the world. How does this trend of virtual teams and remote work impact the future of face-to-face meetings?
Face-to-face meetings is more than just verbal communication
There is no doubt about the importance of face-to-face meetings in human communication. The reading of body language during conversations and meetings is a feedback tool during conversations. You can gauge the level of interest when talking to someone by reading their body language. People who are playing around with pens, checking their mobiles, etc. are clearly not engaged in a presentation while others who nod their heads and smile are the opposite. These indications allow you to adjust your tone and style of language trying to reengage people. This is very difficult in a virtual communication.
Other aspects related to the uniqueness of face-to-face meetings include the efficiency over email conversations and the personal touch which is created in any face-to-face conversation. In-person meetings in the end creates a sense of community which comes with the ability to interact and socialize which builds the foundation for trust which is ultimately one of the key pillars of human interaction.
While the value and importance of in-person interaction is clear, how does the future of face-to-face meetings look with the trend of more people working remotely?
Communication is the biggest challenge in managing a virtual team. Making sure that information flows and virtual team members are building trust among each other should be a key concern of any company. Social learning, a key method of building capacities is another element which has to be taken care of in a virtual setup.
The future of face-to-face meetings is more targeted
The present already allows us to experience meetings with people being physically there and others joining in through video conferencing. This hybrid model of meetings have become quite normal in an corporation. Product pitches from new clients are given via video conferences and internal staff meetings can bring hundreds of people together on one screen.
The future of face-to-face meetings will include a strong virtual component. Technology will allow us to have a less virtual touch of the video conferencing call. One could imagine augmented reality playing a major role there. You may be sitting in a conference room with your colleagues being virtually placed there as well. This will allow to keep the information flow fast.
However, the personal touch, the chemistry which is being build in face-to-face interactions will not be substituted by technology. Companies will rather realize the importance of continuously bringing their teams together. Thus, the future of face-to-face meetings includes more targeted interactions. In-person meetings will be scheduled with very concrete reasons and expectations. Recurrent face-to-face meetings of virtual teams will be set-up in order to talk about strategy or generate creativity.
Face-to-face meetings will be a key management tool. Today, many companies push for more virtual communication with remote teams but do not build the important structure of in-person meetings in. Due to the fear of high costs, companies believe that they can substitute in-person meetings with virtual meetings. This is a false assumption. The correct equation is more virtual meetings will require more targeted face-to-face meetings.
The future of face-to-face meetings will require management tools for virtual teams like TroopTravel which removes the location importance from the planning of a face-to-face meeting. When you work from anywhere in the world, you can meet anywhere in the world as well!