Many organizations and businesses are shifting away from in-person meetings, which require costly travel and disrupted schedules, in favour of holding virtual meetings using online meeting software between employees in multiple locations. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this practice exploded as more and more employees began working from home.
Online meetings greatly simplify group meetings, but they also have many disadvantages compared to traditional in-person gatherings. Virtual meetings can be beneficial, but they should be balanced with the benefits of meeting in person. Examining some of the drawbacks of online meetings will help you decide when they are appropriate for your small business.
1. Technical overhead
Organizing even a small group of people online necessitates that everyone is familiar with the software and network used to host the meeting. It may be necessary to exclude people with technical difficulties with their computer setup or internet connection.
As the number of people involved in the meeting increases, these problems increase. A video conference may work well for two or three people, but it may be disastrous for seven or eight, even if the software claims to be capable of handling that number. Furthermore, one disadvantage of virtual meetings is hacking, also known as “Zoom bombing,” in which uninvited guests show up and disrupt the meeting.
2. Loss of interpersonal interactions
People who meet communicate face-to-face in many ways other than by voice. Body language and facial expressions convey a lot of information, and unconscious communication helps to facilitate discussion. When a meeting is held online, this communication can be missed or lost entirely, reducing participants’ energy.
When someone changes positions in person, they remain in full view of the rest of the meeting; online, they may temporarily disappear from view. This complicates online meetings and increases the likelihood of misunderstandings.
3. Opportunity for distractions
Face-to-face meetings have strong social factors that require everyone to stay engaged with the meeting and pay attention to the speakers. Compare this to virtual meetings, where the temptation to check email or make another cup of coffee may be much stronger, leading to people not paying attention to parts of the meeting.
4. Time zones apart
Participants in your online meeting may include teammates, clients, or stakeholders from different continents and time zones.
In this case, you may get into the habit of prioritizing your own and your team’s time and schedules, but it is also important to consider other attendees. Consider how you can make it convenient for everyone to arrive at a reasonable time, especially if this is a recurring meeting.
When you schedule the most convenient time for everyone involved, you demonstrate that they are valued and considered. This fosters an environment of better online meetings, motivated teams, and an increased likelihood of success.
5. Online interruptions
It is foolish to place complete trust in technology because it can be abused. Similarly, expecting an uninterrupted Internet connection is unrealistic because disconnection is always possible while participating in virtual meetings. This type of interruption, whether a business meeting or not, can reduce the effectiveness of an online meeting. It can happen as a result of low-quality equipment. As a result, it is critical to maintain high-quality business equipment.
6. Reduce one’s social relationship
An online meeting is not appropriate for all types of gatherings. It is important to maintain social relationships. When using online meeting software, social contact is lost. Online conferencing dries out the relationship. Meetings become more business-focused as technology is used, and there is less opportunity for general conversation.
7. Possibility of hacking
When hosting an online meeting, there is a high risk of a security breach. This is due to the possibility of hacking, which can compromise the confidentiality of business matters.
Hackers can exploit and misuse the information. As a result, it is important to maintain high security while sharing information via modern technology.
8. Possibility of poor planning
There is no doubt that an online meeting facilitates some aspects of the meeting planning process. For example, there are no meeting rooms to reserve or agendas to print.
However, sufficient planning is still required for the meeting to be successful. Because the planning process for face-to-face meetings differs from that for online meetings, there is a risk that a company will become lax in this area.
How to overcome these virtual meeting challenges
Online meetings have saved many offices during these difficult times, but they have also introduced new challenges. These virtual meeting challenges may appear to be overwhelming, but there are effective solutions to them. With proper preparation and practice, you can overcome online meeting challenges. Make sure you prepare for all virtual meetings ahead of time so you can feel comfortable and relaxed during the meeting.
1. Having a backup plan
You never know when you will encounter technical difficulties for which the cause is unknown. Send out information and details about an alternate meeting plan so that if problems arise, employees do not know what to do next.
2. Send out a meeting agenda in advance
All attendees must understand exactly what they can expect from the online meeting. The employees understand what you expect from them if you give them clear and concise instructions.
3. Prepare a meeting agenda with specific instructions
A plan is always a good solution to any online meeting problem. Establish ground rules so that participants are not perplexed by the process. For example, state that everyone’s microphones should be muted while other participants are speaking.
4. Make sure your meetings follow a schedule
Have specific steps or actions for each meeting so that people feel more at ease and understand what you mean. This creates a sense of comfort, allowing everyone to function properly.
5. Put in the effort to make all meeting attendees feel at ease
Do everything possible to make everyone feel as close to a normal office meeting. Create an online team culture for your company.
6. Ensure that everyone is up to date on the events
To figure out and solve the virtual meeting challenges, you must frequently check in and evaluate employees’ performance, progress, and understanding. So that everyone is on the same page.
It can take a long time to adjust from in-person to online meetings. However, the risks can be mitigated. Online meetings will truly help your team stay informed, trained, and updated, regardless of their time zone, if you use reliable online meeting software like Clariti and meet in person on occasion.
With Clariti, you can end your problems with online meetings. Fortunately, Clariti helps to organize events or online meetings in simple steps. You can also create personal To-Dos and schedule voice calls and events with other participants. Clariti has many other features in which “Content-rich” messaging is unique. With Clariti, you can combine emails, calls, documents, social feeds, and to-do lists into content-rich subject chats.
Having this context makes it easier to understand the topic at hand without having to search for it. Clariti lets you send and receive emails, consume social media, chat with your team, and manage cloud documents. Try our tips for overcoming the challenges of online meetings before getting started with Clariti – adaptable, robust, and collaborative online meeting software. Sign up with Clariti today and get started!
Alexia is the author at Research Snipers covering all technology news including Google, Apple, Android, Xiaomi, Huawei, Samsung News, and More.