Face-to-Face V.S. Screen-to-Screen: Research-Based Insights on Effective Business Meetings

In recent years, video conferencing technology has made it easier than ever to hold virtual meetings with colleagues and clients worldwide. While video meetings have […]

Business Resources

In recent years, video conferencing technology has made it easier than ever to hold virtual meetings with colleagues and clients worldwide. While video meetings have many advantages, in-person meetings remain an important part of business communication. In this article, we take a research-based look at the advantages of face-to-face communication.

Stronger Connections

In-person meetings allow for stronger connections to be made. According to a study by Forbes Insights, 85% of people believe that face-to-face meetings build stronger and more meaningful business relationships. According to another study, published in Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, and briefly summarized in the Harvard Business Review, face-to-face communication is 34 times more effective than written communication in building trust and understanding between team members. In-person meetings allow for participants to build personal connections, stronger rapport, and establish relationships that can lead to future business opportunities. In contrast, video meetings can lack the personal touch and tend to be more transactional in nature.

Improved Communication

In-person meetings allow for better communication than video meetings. Research suggests that over 90% of communication is non-verbal, including body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions. In-person meetings allow for significantly better recognition of these nonverbal cues, leading to a more accurate understanding of what is being communicated. In contrast, video meetings can be hindered by technical issues, such as poor audio or video quality, which can negatively impact your ability to properly communicate.

Enhanced Creativity

In-person meetings can enhance creativity and collaboration. A study by Northwestern University found that face-to-face collaboration leads to more diverse and original ideas when compared to digital communication. In-person meetings allow for brainstorming sessions and discussions to take place in real-time, leading to more dynamic and collaborative conversations. In contrast, video meetings are typically run with a strict agenda and can be disrupted by technical issues, or the classic “you’re on mute”, making it harder for participants to fully engage in discussion.

Reduced Fatigue

In-person meetings are easier on the brain than virtual meetings, but that doesn’t always make them more convenient for everyone; sometimes virtual is still the best option! When scheduling virtual meeting time, aim for quality over quantity. According to Dr. Sahar Yousef, a cognitive neuroscientist and expert in business and productivity, 30 is the new 60! Scheduling meetings for 30 minutes or less can drastically help reduce burnout and screen fatigue, allowing for better focus over the course of your meeting and increased productivity afterwards!

Increased Productivity

In-person meetings can increase productivity when compared to video meetings. A study conducted by MIT’s Human Dynamics Lab found that 35 percent of the variation in a team’s performance “can be accounted for simply by the number of face-to-face exchanges among team members.” In-person meetings allow for real-time problem-solving, faster decision-making, and an overall more efficient use of time. In contrast, video meetings can be slowed down by constant screen/audio redirection based on who is speaking, accompanied by a diluted experience connecting with everybody on the call, leading to a less productive meeting.

While virtual meetings have their advantages, like convenience and flexibility (which is invaluable in today’s fast-paced world), it’s important to recognize that in-person meetings still hold a valuable place in the realm of business communication. Ultimately, whether you opt for the warmth of a handshake or the click of a “Join Meeting” button, should depend on the specifics needs/goals of your meeting. 

At Workhaus, members get a set of free monthly credits to book on-demand boardrooms. For those that aren’t members and are looking to bring the team together or just need a private space to focus, you can book one of our boardrooms here with just a few simple clicks.