Benefits of in-person meetings and how to have them
In a world that witnessed the rise of virtual meetings and events almost overnight, there’s a subtle yet powerful shift in the air as a sense of normalcy returns to the working world.
The revival of in-person has been a significant milestone in the business landscape post-COVID, but what are the benefits, and what does it cost?
Let’s delve into the dynamics of the business meeting post-COVID and explore why the old ways of doing business remain as relevant as ever in an increasingly digital world.
The Power of Body Language
While the digital meeting was not completely unheard of before the pandemic, it typically came as a secondary choice to sitting around the table in person.
While going digital has its clear benefits – with the potential for increasing productivity, performance, and profitability – there’s a universal acknowledgment that human connection can’t quite be replicated on screen.
In-person meetings can allow for unplanned moments and unstructured tangents more readily controlled in the digital space, as well as allowing participants to more easily pick up on unspoken cues and to read a room – all elements which help foster a more genuine connection with colleagues, co-workers, or clients.
While virtual interactions have also allowed businesses to bridge geographical gaps, they’ve also highlighted the limitations of the digital realm.
Non-verbal communication includes body language, facial expressions, and gestures. It’s the eye contact during a negotiation, the handshake sealing a deal, and the face-to-face ideation sessions that can help forge creativity and foster team motivation.
While virtual events provide a platform for knowledge sharing, the immersive experience of attending an event in person takes this to another level.
In-person events offer the opportunity to network during coffee breaks, engage in impromptu discussions, and exchange business cards that make the in-person event more impactful.
How Do I Get My In-Person Meeting Confidence Back?
While there are many positives to meeting in-person, it is important to understand that this type of meeting set-up isn’t for everyone, every time.
After several years of online-only interactions, it is only natural to feel a knock in confidence when presented with an in-person meeting invite.
Here are some tips to help improve your confidence for in-person business meetings or events:
- Prepare Thoroughly: Knowledge is power. Have an agenda, know your participants, and prepare briefing notes on your topics to feel equipped to contribute meaningfully to the discussions.
- Practice Your Pitch: If you’re presenting, rehearse your presentation so you’ll be less likely to stumble over your words or forget important points. Prepare notecards if needed to keep you on track.
- Dress the Part: Choose an outfit that makes you feel confident and professional to put you at ease.
- Maintain Positive Body Language: Stand tall, sit up straight, make eye contact, and offer a handshake. Positive body language signals confidence and can also boost self-assurance.
- Arrive Early: Give yourself extra time to arrive at the meeting venue. Arriving early allows you to acclimatise, and mentally prepare for the meeting.
- Practice Active Listening: Confidence isn’t just about speaking; it’s also about listening. Engage actively in conversations by asking questions and showing genuine interest.
- Breathe: Take a few deep breaths to help calm any nerves and remind yourself that you’re prepared and capable.
- Keep Things Friendly: Engage in casual conversations before and after the meeting to help build connections, catch up with old contacts or colleagues, and ease your nerves.
Remember, it’s okay to have moments of uncertainty. Embrace any mistakes or imperfections as opportunities for growth and instead take some time to reflect on what went well in your return to in-person to help improve the experience next time.
Balancing face to face and virtual meetings
The return of in-person meetings and events doesn’t signal the demise of the virtual world – far from it. Instead, it shows how important it is to embrace a balanced approach that suits every style of working and situation at hand.
Workplaces offering flexible hybrid models have become the norm post-COVID, meaning that businesses now have the opportunity to leverage virtual efficiency without sacrificing the value of the traditional ways of doing business – making the argument for a blended approach to in-person and digital meetings moving forwards.
This resurgence of in-person isn’t necessarily a step backwards that we should fear; but a recalibration that embraces the true flexibility and adaptability of the modern working world. Even in a digital age, there’s magic in coming back together.