Are Face to Face Meetings Better Than Online?

Should face to face meetings ever be held? Are online meetings better?

As someone that spends a great deal of time online and promotes networking and building businesses through online relationships it may seem strange that I am writing about face to face meetings.

Whilst a great deal can be achieved online using social media like Facebook and Twitter, plus Skype, messaging services and even that thing called a telephone there is room for face to face meetings.

There are advantages to face to face meetings that are difficult if not impossible to achieve using online methods.

Here are some of the main areas that I believe we should all consider as we build business relationships with, customers, suppliers, outsources and employed offsite staff.

When we have a face to face meeting we can assess a person more easily because not only can we engage in conversation but we can see their non verbal behavioral actions. Do they appear to be comfortable or uncomfortable in what they are saying? Do they appear to be avoiding answering our question and perhaps even lying? Are they upset or appear to have some worry on their mind?

It is not so easy to tell unless we can see the person. At this point someone may say that you can see them on a web video conferencing link. That is true but you can normally only see a part of them. They may be fidgeting with their watch or clenching fists perhaps signs that we would like to pick up on if we thought they were uncomfortable with the discussion.

When we meet someone face to face we also tend to spend a little more time getting to know them during those small talk moments. Knowing about a business or potential business associate personally can help us decide whether we should be doing business or not. Are they trustworthy, have integrity, are competent and possess the skills we are seeking? Their personal lives learned about during small talk can reveal a lot about them.

For those of us that spend time in an office on our own there is also the great advantage that face to face meetings give us human contact and can prevent feelings of isolation taking over our lives. Human relationships should never be undervalued and having people that you can talk to and call on for a little support is vital. Face to face meetings help build such bonds and even though you may next communicate by phone, text, or Twitter the fact that you have met improves those forms of communication.

Face to face meetings should be very effective meetings and soon an article will be published with some tips on holding effective meetings so that you can get the most from them.

How do you prefer to hold business meetings? Face to face or online? When do you make sure that face to face are held instead of online?

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Roland Millward
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