- Why are virtual meetings so difficult?
- Can virtual meetings replace in-person meetings?
- How can you support your in-person and virtual meetings while working remotely?
Q: How can I make virtual meetings more interesting?
A: Virtual meetings, while incredibly convenient, come with their own set of issues. The trick is figuring out how to combine in-person and virtual meetings, relying on both instead of picking one or the other. Simple ice-breakers and conversation starters at the beginning of the virtual meeting call and plenty of interactivity will create much more interesting meetings.
With the advent of digital-first businesses, skyrocketing e-commerce sales, and the rise in popularity of collaborative management, the modern working world looks very different today.
Today, there’s a digital solution for just about everything. Countless virtual tools and solutions are constantly being created and tweaked to better serve modern consumers.
As of last year, 85% of Americans are going online every day.
With so many individuals taking advantage of this virtual landscape, it’s almost comical that so many individuals are still struggling with virtual meetings.
A virtual meeting is, by definition, an event that takes place online – a place where people can interact with one another instead of meeting in a physical location.
Despite the countless benefits that a virtual meeting provides, anyone who’s been required to attend virtual meetings will tell you that they have their weaknesses.
Remote work isn’t going anywhere, and neither are virtual meetings. Some meetings might operate perfectly from a virtual standpoint, but some meetings just need to be done in person.
In this article, we’ll be exploring what makes virtual meetings so difficult, whether you can replace in-person meetings with virtual ones, how you can support both in-person and virtual meetings while working remotely, and how a Virtual Office can help you get the most out of both styles of meetings.
- Why are virtual meetings so difficult?
- Can virtual meetings replace in-person meetings?
- How can you support your in-person and virtual meetings while working remotely?
- Leveraging your Virtual Office for virtual meetings
Why virtual meetings are so difficult
Virtual meetings are a fantastic way to keep your team connected when working remotely. However, they often introduce some unnecessary struggles.
Fortunately, the right virtual meeting platform can help alleviate some of these issues. But because you’re relying on your internet connection and attention from others, there’s no way to guarantee that either of those things is functioning properly.
Before we go further, let’s take a look at a few popular virtual meeting companies:
It’s easy to recognize the sheer popularity of Zoom when you consider that virtual meetings are now referred to simply as “Zoom calls” or just “Zoom”. Despite several other virtual meeting platforms being available, the name is used to refer to any kind of online meeting or call.
Incredibly popular in the late 2000s, Skype was used in the same way that Zoom is used now. After being acquired by Microsoft for an astonishing $8.5 billion, however, the functionality of the platform became progressively worse.
If you’re already using Microsoft’s suite of products, Teams is a great option. It’s not as popular as the aforementioned platforms, but still reliable and easy to use.
Webex is a company owned by Cisco Systems that has created a multi-functional virtual meeting application. Webex’s biggest benefit is its streamlined interoperability across various devices.
Several more virtual meeting platforms can be found, but the aforementioned platforms are some of the most popular. While the popularity of the phrase “Zoom” might lead individuals to believe that Zoom is the only platform available, that simply isn’t the case.
Despite numerous platforms being available, there are still some problems that arise when using a virtual meeting app.
Below, we’ve detailed a few of the most noticeable difficulties that arise during a virtual meeting — as well as some ways to combat these issues.
- Slow internet connection
- No human contact
- People get bored
Slow internet connection
Slow internet connection is one of the most frustrating aspects of virtual meetings. Not only does the host need a solid internet connection, but everyone participating in the meeting also requires one.
Virtual meetings take up a lot of bandwidth. Individuals attending virtual meetings from their homes will often run into connectivity problems, especially if they’re sharing their homes with other people who are using the internet.
Needless to say, spending time on strengthening internet connections or begging roommates to get offline for a few minutes isn’t a great way to spend your time during a virtual meeting.
These issues make the meetings less productive and can hurt your professional appearance when meeting with clients.
Taking virtual meetings from home can come with a host of distractions and unforeseen circumstances.
Barking dogs, playing children, and loud roommates can seriously compromise the professional appearance of your business.
What makes these distractions even more frustrating is that unless you have a private meeting space to host these meetings, there’s no way to plan for possible distractions.
Additionally, attendees are just as susceptible to distractions as you are. There’s nothing worse than spending a couple of minutes trying to determine who is making noise while you’re trying to talk.
Distractions cause such an issue because once you’ve lost the attention of the attendees, it can be hard to get it back.
No human contact
Unfortunately, virtual meetings aren’t always able to replace in-person meetings.
In-person contact still matters, and some clients or investors simply won’t respond as well to virtual meetings.
To make the most out of your virtual meetings, you need to ensure that the attendees are willing to participate.
If you’re hosting a virtual meeting with key investors and one of them is staunchly against online meetings, you might want to choose an in-person meeting instead – or a hybrid option via a meeting space with teleconferencing.
A lack of human contact isn’t always detrimental to your virtual meeting, but it is deeply personal. When meeting with potential investors, new employees, or important clients, a human touch might be necessary to create a strong connection.
People get bored
Even in in-person meetings, people get bored.
A key benefit of an in-person meeting is that you can easily tell when an individual has stopped paying attention. Identifying closed eyes and a light snore is infinitely more difficult through a screen and muted microphone.
One thing that all of these issues have in common is that they apply to every person in the meeting, rather than just one.
For a virtual meeting to function perfectly, everyone needs good internet access, everyone needs to be free from distractions, and everyone needs to be attentive throughout the meeting.
If it were just one person that needed each of these things, then hosting virtual meetings would be a breeze.
The best way to combat these difficulties is by understanding that some meetings need to be held in person. There’s just something about the human touch and intimacy of an in-person meeting that virtual meetings cannot replicate with our available technology.
The importance of having a prepared meeting space
For remote business owners, in-person meetings can be tricky.
If you work from home or in coffee shops, you might not have a dedicated space for meetings. Attending a virtual meeting from a coffee shop can be quite difficult, and you might even get dirty looks from other customers.
Hosting meetings in public spaces can compromise your privacy. Using public Wi-Fi is a recipe for disaster, and a virtual meeting app could gain access to some of your phone’s private information.
Similarly, sharing important company information with your team in public can be unnerving at best, as anyone who cares to listen can do so. As it stands, you could potentially violate an NDA if you share private company information in a public location and someone else hears it.
The problem only worsens when you’re meeting with clients. Meeting in a public space may be seen as unprofessional, and meeting at home is even worse.
Without a professional and private place to meet, there’s a good chance you’ll lose important connections and business opportunities.
Without a prepared meeting space, you are exposing yourself to the following:
- Lack of privacy
- Unprofessional appearances
- Compromised safety
- Countless distractions
Whether you’re trying to host a meeting at home or in a coffee shop, you need to deal with these issues if you want to make a solid impression.
That said, you don’t want to waste money on a consistent meeting space rental you only use occasionally. Fortunately, a high-quality Virtual Office can eliminate all of these issues with ease.
Rather than succumbing to the lengthy 3-year minimums of commercial workspaces, a Virtual Office gives you access to meeting rooms and physical workspaces that can be used to host any of your in-person meetings.
Why a Virtual Office is the best solution for meetings
Alliance’s Virtual Offices provides the best solution for virtual meetings by giving business owners access to a physical workspace without sacrificing the flexibility that remote work is known for.
We’ve compiled a list of the most actionable ways that our Virtual Offices offer the best solution for in-person and virtual meetings:
- Reputable business address
- Access to a physical workspace
- Access to meeting rooms
- Increased privacy
Reputable business address
A Virtual Office from Alliance provides your business with a reputable business address.
This means remote clients or investors will get the right impression of your business, making it easier for you to expand and land new business.
Think of it this way:
Would a tech company based in Silicon Valley get more attention than a tech company that shares an address with Staples in Kentucky?
The answer is yes.
With so many consumers having access to the internet at their fingertips, a majority of your customers will undoubtedly search for your business online.
As more and more individuals are falling victim to scams, consumers are rightfully cautious. A professional and well-known business address can quell these fears for potential consumers, sometimes being the final push needed for these individuals to make a purchase.
Access to a physical workspace
Alliance’s Virtual Offices give you access to professional work and meeting spaces on-demand.
This means that you’ll always have a quiet, professional place to attend and host virtual meetings.
Each of our centers has high-speed internet connectivity, eliminating any tech issues that could arise during your virtual meetings.
Rather than simply hoping that your kids don’t bother you, the dog doesn’t bark, or the roommate doesn’t come home inebriated, you can use our physical workspaces to confidently host or attend a virtual meeting without the fear of external circumstances.
While attending a virtual meeting at home isn’t always a bad idea, just having the option to use the physical workspace access can be comforting.
If your work-from-home routine is causing too much stress or you wake up one day and feel like you can’t be at home any longer, a physical workspace offers a quiet and professional change of pace.
While our physical workspaces are the perfect place to host or attend any virtual meeting, our meeting rooms provide an excellent place to host in-person meetings.
Access to meeting rooms
Should you need a place to meet in person, you can easily reserve one of the meeting rooms in your Virtual Office center.
Not only do our meeting rooms come in a variety of sizes to fit any of your hosting needs, but they each have high-speed internet connectivity, helpful onsite staff, and a friendly lobby greeter to direct attendees.
These rooms are private and professionally maintained, ensuring you always have a place to meet when you need it — without having to pay for one when you don’t.
Coffee shops are loud, obnoxious, and generally unsafe in terms of sharing confidential company information. Hotel conference rooms are incredibly expensive and pointless for smaller meetings.
With a range of options available, our meeting rooms can handle any kind of in-person meeting imaginable without being prohibitively expensive.
The privacy offered by our Virtual Offices cannot be overstated.
All too often, business owners think that using their home address to register their business is a good way to save money and get started. But they fail to consider the ramifications of having their address in the public domain.
Once your address is a part of the public domain, disgruntled ex-employees, former customers, and an inordinate number of spam mailers will have easy access to your personal information.
Avoiding the sheer volume of spam mail you’ll start receiving is enough of a reason to procure a Virtual Office.
Outside of ensuring your address’s privacy, both our meeting rooms and physical workspaces provide considerably more privacy than a crowded coffee shop or a hotel conference room.
Tips for making a virtual meeting more engaging
If you’re meeting with people from all corners of the globe, a virtual meeting might be your only option.
To make virtual meetings more engaging, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of actionable tips you can use to keep all attendees involved:
Make your presentations pop
There’s nothing worse than trying to sit through a presentation of black and white slides that are devoid of any graphics. While you aren’t making a comic book, any amount of levity will go a long way. With virtual backgrounds and stickers, you can create an environment that incentives participation without losing sight of the purpose of your meeting.
Engage with the audience early
At the beginning of the meeting, all of your attendees will be paying close attention. Take advantage of this. Even if it’s just light conversation or generalized ice-breakers, taking the time to speak with the attendees and asking them questions is a great way to keep people involved.
Leave time for questions
Similar to engaging early, giving attendees the chance to ask questions is a great way to keep everyone involved. Ask the attendees questions at the end of each slide. Remember, keeping attention is much easier than regaining attention. Once you’ve lost your audience’s attention, you’ll spend the rest of the meeting trying to get it back.
This might sound silly, but it is possibly the most important tip on this list. Attendees can tell when the host doesn’t want to be there. If you start the meeting with a monotonous voice and proceed through your virtual meeting speaking in the same manner, how can you blame anyone for losing attention? If you’re having fun, they’re having fun.
During a virtual meeting, using your and your employees’ time efficiently is paramount to the success of the gathering.
Keeping everyone’s attention throughout a presentation is far more difficult than keeping everyone’s attention throughout a conversation. If you start your virtual meeting with gusto and keep that same energy throughout, you’ll never have a bad virtual meeting again.
Leveraging your Virtual Office for virtual meetings
Virtual meetings often run into connectivity issues or environmental distractions. Despite their viability, some clients or investors simply insist on in-person meetings.
A Virtual Office gives you a quiet space with high-speed internet to attend virtual meetings and on-demand meeting room access whenever you need it. This gives you the best of both worlds and plenty of options.
A virtual meeting is a great way to connect with other remote employees. If your business is employing individuals from all over the country, you likely don’t have another choice for your team meetings.
That said, it’s important to recognize when an in-person meeting is better suited to your needs.
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Alliance Virtual Offices provides several virtual tools for established entrepreneurs.
With our Virtual Offices, business owners have an easy way to host or attend any virtual meeting that they’d like. Our physically-backed spaces are complete with high-speed internet access, helpful and friendly onsite staff, and a private place to work,
Additionally, because our Virtual Offices come with an easy way to reserve meeting rooms, business owners also have an incredible place to host any in-person meetings that they come across.
Are you an established entrepreneur hoping to find a better way to manage your virtual and in-person meetings? Or are you a fledgling business owner trying to understand which option is the better choice?
Either way, we’ve got you covered.
While the actual decision of in-person vs virtual is up to you, we’re prepared to make any virtual meeting you host or attend an incredible experience. Through the use of our meeting rooms, any in-person meeting you host is private, professional, and free from technical difficulties.
Contact us today to see how Alliance Virtual Offices can help your business host the best virtual and in-person meetings!