The client meeting. Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that meetings are not disappearing any time soon. As a freelancer or entrepreneur, it may be hard to justify the expense of in-person meetings, but their importance can’t be overstated.
Despite the technological capabilities that make virtual meetings possible, nothing compares to a face-to-face discussion when it comes to business. A study by Oxford Economics USA found that when it comes to prospective clients, virtual meetings are 85% less effective than in-person meetings, and 63% less effective when dealing with current clients.
Another study from The Maritz Institute indicates that there are three situations that call for face-to-face meetings: “1) to capture attention, 2) to inspire a positive emotional climate, 3) to build human networks and relationships.” Helping someone to understand a complex idea or fostering a sense of goodwill are both things better done in person. The reason? We are better able to pick up on facial cues and nuances in body language when we’re in the same room with someone. These are factors that can aid in understanding a new concept and building a rapport with a prospective client.
The integration of virtual technology into in-person meetings is also important. There are more ways than ever to connect with people in a digital format, and these types of technologies can be used in tandem with face-to-face contact. Using virtual meetings to handle day-to-day questions and in-person meetings for relationship building can be a great way for freelancers and entrepreneurs to cut down on meeting time costs.
What about you? What’s your policy on face-to-face meetings?