by Guillaume Privat
Because of the current economic conditions and the increased awareness of the impact of travel on the planet, many organizations are promoting virtual meetings as a replacement for face to face meetings. Yet, as people get more comfortable with web conferencing thanks to engaging tools like Connect Pro, they realize that both type of meetings are very complimentary and combined can effectively drive individual and group productivity.
As a general rule, face to face meetings are seen critical when you need to build trust or prove or force undivided attention to the other people with whom you meet. But in a world where every knowledge worker is under pressure to deliver more, multi-tasking is becoming essential. Virtual meetings, when done right, not only eliminates the time wasted in costly travels (even if it is just from one floor to another or one building to another) but also they enable knowledge workers to multi-task from their desk and participate in the meeting only when they are needed.
Organizations should look beyond this dichotomy: virtual and in-person meeting are actually very complementary and can uniquely drive an organization productivity.
At Adobe for example, employees across the organization use Connect Pro even when they meet face to face. The Connect Pro meeting room is an advantageous substitute to room projectors: everyone accesses the meeting room on their laptop connected to the enterprise LAN via a wireless connection: no matter where you seat in the room, you now have front row seat to the presentation.
Beyond this logistical advantage a Connect Pro meeting room combined with an in-person meeting provides a rich set of meta-data on top of the real meeting. Did you join late? Not sure who is who? The attendee list pod provides you all the names of the participant so that you can figure out every attendees. The note pod presents the meeting agenda. Since a Connect Pro meeting room is persistent, the note pod might even contained the notes or agenda from previous meetings so that you get a much better history of what is being discussed. The file share pod provides all the attachment and files being discussed eliminating the need to search back into your email for that file that was sent a couple of weeks ago. The private chat functionality enables you to continue discussion on a specific topic without interrupting the flow of the meeting. All this set of meta-data make the face to face meeting all the more productive.
Virtual meetings have the power to transform face to face meeting into digital assets that can be very valuable. Think of a sales rep doing a stellar in-person sales pitch. If this meeting is accompanied by a virtual Connect Pro meeting and is recorded, the sales pitch can be shared with other rep, driving sales best practice and effectiveness across the organization. Training sessions can take a second economic life if recorded. Teaching organizations can then sell these recordings to people who might not be able to afford the in-person experience.
Many people still consider web conferencing as a second rate experience compared to face to face meetings because they have used solutions that unlike Connect Pro do not provide a rich and engaging user experience. But when done right, web conferencing can actually not only in certain case substitute to live meeting but also complement them in a way that dramatically enhances productivity.