An in person meeting used to be the only reliable way to have an impactful, human conversation with another person. While phone conversations were fine for quick discussions, nothing could match the benefits of being face-to-face with another person when a serious interaction was necessary.
Today, the in-person meeting isn’t as common as it once was, thanks to the restrictions and confusion created during the pandemic. However, there are still significant benefits associated with meeting in person, particularly in the sales landscape.
What is an In Person Meeting?
An in-person meeting is when two or more people are physically present for a discussion. Crucially, though a video meeting might feel similar to meeting in person, it’s not the same as sharing the same geographical space with another human being.
An in-person meeting is the most common choice for conversations where emotional depth, empathy, and human contact are crucial. These meetings are great for when a customer needs to try product samples, or when a conversation needs to be more dynamic than a virtual meeting.
What are Virtual Meetings?
A virtual meeting is a conference or conversation enabled by the use of virtual or digital software. Today’s virtual meetings can take place in a number of different environments. You can host a virtual meeting over live chat or messaging tools, through a conversation on an audio conferencing app, or through a video meeting service.
The most common form of virtual meeting today is the video meeting, which allows people to share a lot of the face-to-face elements of in-person meetings at a distance. Virtual meetings are simple and effective for people who can’t travel long distances to connect in-person, but they can lack some of the impact of an in person meeting.
Virtual meetings are also evolving to include more technology. In the age of extended reality, it’s possible to have a meeting with a customer or colleague in “virtual reality”.
The Benefits of an In Person Meeting
An in-person meeting is perhaps the most traditional way to connect with another person on a human level. These days, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for a lot of people to find the time and opportunities for an in-person meeting. However, when these conversations are successful, they can be extremely valuable. Benefits include:
Tangible access to resources: An in-person meeting allows individuals in the conversation to interact with shared resources, like products, samples, or technology. Because everyone is located in the same space, you can actually touch and interact with tools.
Human impact:Being in the same room as another person can create a sense of deeper connection through proximity alone. There are psychological studies which suggest being closer to someone else actually makes us more likely to trust them.
Improved body language: While you can see some facial expressions and body language through virtual meetings, it’s not nearly as reliable as a face-to-face conversation. When you’re in the same room as another person, you can read them more clearly.
Better trust and transparency: When you meet a person in the real world, it’s much harder for them to hide information about themselves. We feel as though we’re getting the “full package” with an in-person meeting, which helps to develop a sense of trust.
Flexibility: An in-person meeting can adapt to the situation. People can move into different landscapes to access various other tools and resources at any moment, without having to plan for additional follow-up meeting.
Empathy: Empathy is becoming an important tool in all parts of the business world. When we’re in the same room as another person, it’s easier to sense their emotions and adapt the conversation accordingly.
Are there Downsides to an In-Person Meeting?
For the most part, in-person meetings are the perfect way to create a more emotional and human connection with other people. However, they’re not always a realistic option. Booking and arranging a virtual meeting can take up a lot of time, as all participants need to be available in the same space at the same time, which might require expensive travel and downtime.
In-person meetings can be expensive, because they require people to travel long distances in certain cases and pay to take expensive equipment with them. What’s more, many people consider an in person meeting to be less safe than a virtual meeting in a post-pandemic world.
In today’s landscape, in-person meetings open the door for the easier spread of various forms of bacteria and viruses. Alternatively, when we meet virtually, we’re not exposed to the same danger.
Are In-Person Meetings Better?
There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to choosing the perfect strategy for your meeting or conversation. Sometimes, an in person meeting will lead to a stronger human connection between participants, and better results overall. Other times, you can access the benefits of your conference with a virtual meeting and keep costs low at the same time.