ARE VIRTUAL MEETINGS IMPACTING BUSINESS TRAVEL

INTRODUCTION

We have a plethora of apps, software and digital tools to help us stay connected to our colleagues, clients, and businesses. And in an age whereby time-zones are no longer a reason to delay a meeting, we rely on digital communication tools such as Skype, Facetime, Join me and many more pieces of software to facilitate our business meetings.

These common instant messenger tools and video conferencing apps are ideal for allowing users in different locations to hold meetings without having to leave the comfort of their office. What’s more, these time-saving solutions combined with remote working trends have had a staggering impact on how business is being conducted in 2018.

YES SMART TECHNOLOGY CAN SAVE TIME AND MONEY HOWEVER…

When it comes to networking and making real, meaningful connections, it’s the people that really are at the heart of all businesses. And in critical business situations such as tough negotiations, difficult resolutions or finalising any crucial details, being able to speak face-to-face and convey your message through words and body language can be the difference between success and a missed opportunity.

Nothing can replace those face-to-face interactions that help convey the spirit of our brand to clients and potential contacts. The first rule of any selling or customer facing role is to be friendly and approachable. People will always buy into people and form attachments with the product or service as a result, which is why business travel will always have a very relevant role in how successful meetings are conducted.

Take the 2017 G7 summit, for example, world leaders came together to announce important climate change initiatives. It’s hard to imagine that such complex negotiations and difficult conversations would be conducted in any other way other than face to face. Our world leaders travelled to stand united in one location – Would this image have had the same reaction had it been conducted via multiple screenshares on a video link? We certainly think not!

From our research, over 60% of Corporate Movers travel because they are irreplaceable. They have a unique, specialist skill which takes them around the world. They are surgeons, athletes, lawyers, engineers who travel to get the job done, and cannot be replaced by technology.

VIRTUAL MEETINGS AREN’T ALWAYS PLAIN SAILING

When it comes to virtual meetings, sure, technology is advancing to a more sophisticated state. Though as Forbes have previously alluded to, there are at least 5 fatal flaws with virtual meetings including the way misunderstandings can so very easily develop.

Challenges can arise when an email is misinterpreted, perhaps somebody imagines it being written in a particular tone, not only can this be quite awkward, but the same misunderstandings can also arise on an audio conference. It’s very difficult for silences to be interpreted. Is the line dead? Do people disagree? Does everyone understand? Can everyone hear clearly?

Forbes also highlights the difficulties in remembering what has actually been said during a virtual meeting: “It’s very hard to remember anything we hear in this way without that second stream of information our unconscious mind constantly feeds us about intent and emotion.  Most of that comes through body language, and most of that is cut out over the phone, and so instantly that means that our minds are not fully engaged, we can’t read the emotional subtext very well, and we, therefore, can’t remember much of what we hear.”

And when all of the above is paired with a poor quality connection and people talking over one another because they’ve missed a natural cue to speak, the results can be detrimental to your success.

According to Travel Market Report: “In a survey of more than 2,000 business people worldwide, nearly half said they believed they had lost a contract or client because they didn’t have enough face-to-face meetings. With 81% reporting face-to-face meetings are better for building long-term trust and ensuring strong client relationships.”

TRAVELLING FOR BUSINESS REALLY IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY OF CONDUCTING A SUCCESFUL MEETING

Perhaps you are a buyer for a retail business in the UK and need to have a lengthy meeting with your suppliers in Asia? As we have alluded to above, it really pays to have that meeting in person rather than virtually, to avoid unnecessary complications. And if you simply don’t have the time to arrange every last detail of your trip, that’s where an end-to-end travel management company like Gray Dawes Travel can help take away those stresses.

We understand that both face-to-face and virtual meetings both have their pros and cons. We are, however, huge advocates of truly meaningful interactions and personalised travel experiences which is why we are always on hand to build bespoke travel itineraries to suit your business.

If you feel your business is ready to invest in a TMC, or you simply want to find out more on how Gray Dawes Travel could help you with end-to-end travel arrangements for your business, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

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