In the United States, around 1.8 million industry meetings and events are held each year, with nearly 2 million people employed into the industry. This highlights how much industry events form an important part of corporate culture. Post-COVID, the event industry has adopted a hybrid model, and virtual meetings and events now form a crucial part of corporate America. Video conferencing technology was used by 48% of remote workers in 2020, which grew to 77% in 2022, and by 2025, 50% of all events may be held on virtual platforms. As virtual meetings continue to grow, it’s essential that companies know how to balance them with in-person meetings. This article explains the benefits of both meeting types and clarifies how to balance them.
Remote meetings were beneficial during the COVID-19 pandemic as it ensured organizations and businesses could continue to reach their target audiences while minimizing the spread of the disease. Here are other benefits of remote meetings:
As participants typically join virtual meetings from their places of comfort, such as their homes or coffee shops, they provide greater convenience. Sessions can be held beyond the typical 9 to 5 work hours or during the weekend. This may be helpful for individuals in different time zones or with tight schedules.
Remote meetings eliminate the need for attendees and event staff to travel. They also cut out the need for organizing refreshments or monitoring participants’ schedules. Meetings can be held on virtual and teleconferencing software, which employees can typically download on their devices, such as smartphones and computers. Businesses can save money on secondary locations, while attendees can save money commuting to meeting areas and acquiring meeting refreshments.
Remote meetings are generally more accessible for the intended participants. They allow anyone to join regardless of their location globally and increase participation for those with travel restrictions due to conditions, such as ill health, financial restraints or childcare. This possibility of cross-national meetings has enabled companies to reach attendees in remote regions of the planet.
In in-person meetings, human presence plays a crucial part as it enables participants to engage with each other more fluidly and understand each other better. This face to face interactions also provides additional benefits, including:
Face-to-face meetings typically enhance communication as participants can pose non-verbal clues and share questions to ensure everyone understands the topic of discussion. Discussions can also get personal, enabling attendees to understand each other better and build stronger professional connections.
Due to stronger personal connections, in-person meetings enhance collaboration and increase participants’ ability to solve problems. Long-term company success typically depends on solid partnerships. Meeting your colleagues in person allows for more human engagement, which can help build trust and develop strong bonds. An organization based on trust and strong connections typically facilitates employees working together and assisting each other to achieve a company’s goals and objectives.
Networking is a crucial aspect of events, with up to 85% of positions filled through networking, according to Zippia. Face-to-face meetings make it easier for attendees to connect better and make connections that are crucial to their careers. By providing a platform for seamless in-person connections, in-person meetings facilitate networking among industry professionals in a natural way.
In-person and virtual meetings have their distinct advantages. If you’re not willing to compromise and want to benefit from both meeting types, you may set up a hybrid meeting with in-person and physical components. You may also perform the following actions:
Consider scheduling remote and in-person meetings to familiarize your team with both. Depending on your team and project requirements, you may do this at regular or irregular intervals. For example, suppose you’re organizing an annual conference for a global medical association. In that case, you may hold more remote meetings than face-to-face meetings to ensure that professionals in remote locations can also participate.
If you’re also having a hybrid meeting, ensure you give both virtual and physical presenters equal speaking opportunities as much as possible. Engage everyone on the topic, and ask questions to ensure they’re following the conversation. Request ideas from the virtual audience to give them a speaking opportunity and for them to know that their opinions and contributions matter.
When holding remote meetings, it’s advisable to use technology to enhance interactions. For example,you can use an event platform (such as Performedia’s) to allow attendees to send feedback or ask questions during a virtual session. Additionally, you can include virtual and hybrid networking sessions where attendees can use videoconferencing and chat to interact.
You may also use technology to boost participation in physical meetings. For example, if you want to conduct a poll and want every attendee to vote, making it anonymous using relevant software may help you get accurate results that reflect people’s thoughts. You can also explore a ton of other audience engagement features to boost participation in your event.
Not everyone will be able to attend your in-person meetings or feel the vibe from your Zoom sessions. However, an active social media page can make attendees and professionals in your industry participate vicariously in your event. High-quality images, event videos, timely posts, and relevant tags are important for driving attention and keeping your target audience engaged, whether it's an in-person or virtual meeting.
Remote and in-person meetings are also more suited to different circumstances and situations. If you’re planning an annual conference or other company events, remote meetings are helpful for reaching audiences scattered across the world. However, for events which only involve a smaller audience mostly confined to a smaller geographical location, you may consider organizing an in-person event. For example, a medical conference for doctors, nurses, and other medical practitioners in the state of Louisiana could be an in-person event.
Virtual meetings provide flexibility and convenience but are typically more challenging to organize and can face technical difficulties. In-person meetings are preferable for their networking advantages but often require people to travel, which may not be environmentally friendly. It’s important to find a balance between the two to benefit from both. Performedia enables you to do this effortlessly by providing numerous features tailored to handling virtual and hybrid events.