Every meeting is intended to serve one of three purposes– to communicate, coordinate or collaborate; or a combination of all three. In 2020, personal interaction came to a halt and virtual meetings suddenly became the way we conduct business. In response, we discovered a new affinity for the convenience and cost savings of virtual meetings.
Meetings are necessary to resolve disputes, negotiate settlements, manage projects, direct a workforce or interact with others during our daily work. Phone calls and emails are not effective substitutes for in-person meetings, but neither is a poorly managed Zoom meeting. The challenge businesses now face is to effectively communicate, coordinate and collaborate via the virtual meeting.
Meeting protocols and processes are being redefined by virtual meetings. What we say and how we act virtually will take on a new level of importance. Making first impressions, maintaining eye contact, confident handshakes, reading body language and interpreting speech mannerisms are being re-evaluated as the dynamic shifts from personal to virtual interaction. Companies will conduct research to determine the most effective tactics to influence perceptions and perspectives of meeting participants, and training for proper virtual meeting etiquette will be provided.
The most successful businesses will ultimately master the virtual meeting process. Top sales teams will figure out how to make a dynamic virtual sales presentation. The best managers will develop tools to create a sense of community among attendees and elicit the necessary ideas and opinions. Successful business owners will use the virtual meeting to gain greater access and interaction with their customers. The most advanced suppliers will provide a virtual visit to their factories so that customers can watch their products being produced. Companies and individuals who develop effective methods to successfully communicate, collaborate and coordinate virtually will be the winners.
Prior to 2020, I spent a lot of time in face-to-face meetings. Weekly I found myself on a plane flying to meet a client, a co-worker or to attend a corporate event. Now the majority of my meetings are occurring via a computer screen. While the impact of the pandemic may soon lessen, the usage of the virtual meeting will not. In-person meetings will not disappear, but their level of frequency will most likely never return to pre-pandemic levels. The virtual meeting is now embedded in how we work, and the response to this change will be significant.
Over the next few years, the most successful businesses will ultimately master the virtual meeting process and its capabilities to effectively communicate, coordinate and collaborate.
Read my full article, Business Trends to Watch in 2021: Adapting to the New Normal
Brian T. King is the founder of multiple businesses encompassing design, construction, real estate and manufacturing. A well-respected construction industry CEO, Brian enjoys offering guidance to young professionals, rising managers and entrepreneurs on a variety of topics – from personal and professional growth, to work/life balance – through his blog, national podcasts, and speaking engagements around the country.