Has the pandemic dramatically changed the way you work and interact with your customers? You’re not alone! The painful shift from in-person meetings to virtual ones has been a major adaptation for most businesses and organizations. While we’ve always understood that in-person meetings are beneficial, we’ve learned over the last few years that virtual meetings provide opportunities that we were previously unaware of.
One of the most significant benefits of virtual meetings is convenience. Virtual meetings allow salespeople and their customers to connect from anywhere in the world, eliminating the need for travel and accommodations. Virtual meetings, which salespeople initially dreaded, have now become the preferred approach for many. Companies also have seen the benefits. They’ve been able to reduce travel budgets considerably. Furthermore, they’ve seen meaningful project collaborations that weren’t possible before.
Virtual meetings also provide a level of flexibility that it’s extremely difficult for in-person meetings to match. For example, salespeople can attend virtual meetings from the comfort of their own homes (I think we’ve all heard of salespeople wearing “Zoom pants”, which can be jogging pants or, in some cases, pyjamas!). We’re all familiar with the stress of commuting in traffic and the hassles of airport security, long lines, and unexpected delays or flight cancellations. I think we can all agree that virtual meetings can be more comfortable and less stressful than traveling to multiple, and often inconvenient locations. As a result, you’ve probably seen the opportunity to engage more internal and external stakeholders in more meetings and in more interesting ways.
In fact, many sales leaders have been able to participate in and coach meetings that would not have been possible when all meetings were in person.
Moreover, virtual meetings can be recorded, providing a valuable resource for people who were unable to attend the meeting. We’ve found that this is especially useful for individuals in different time zones or those with conflicting schedules. Many of our training sessions have been significantly enhanced by bringing participants together, not only from different industries, but from different countries and time zones. Providing our sessions virtually also allows for easier dissemination of information and has helped ensure that everyone is on the same page.
The Power of In-Person Meetings
All that being said, in-person meetings still offer unique benefits that virtual meetings cannot match. Face-to-face interactions allow for building stronger relationships and trust, which can be crucial for business success. I was recently made aware of a situation where a very significant client flew into town from overseas and no one from the sales team made themselves available to take the client to dinner. The trip was planned well in advance, but having grown accustomed to meeting virtually, the sales team lost sight of the benefits of in-person meetings. What they also lost sight of is the fact that the client also planned to visit their competitors while in town.
In-person meetings promote better communication and collaboration, which can lead to more productive and successful outcomes. There’s an inexplicable deepening connection that occurs in person that can’t occur virtually. I think it’s partially due to the spontaneous and unplanned discussions and expressions that build on each other – especially in unscheduled and informal interactions.
Going to conferences in person is super valuable. You get to meet other professionals face-to-face, share ideas, and learn from each other, which is far better than just chatting on Zoom or Teams. Plus, it’s an awesome way to network and get new opportunities and collaborations. And who doesn’t want to break up the daily grind of work life by exploring new places and cultures? Virtual conferences have come into vogue since the pandemic, but nothing beats the power of attending conferences in person.
Going to conferences in person is a great way to learn from the best in the game. Take the Strategic Account Management Association’s (SAMA’s) annual conference, for instance. They’ve got keynote speeches, panel discussions, and workshops that are led by industry leaders–including yours truly (you gotta check out my session on Structured Storytelling, where two clients will be dishing out some insider info). This year’s conference will be in San Diego from May 23-25. Get the details here:
SAMA’s sessions are the real deal! You get to learn about the latest and greatest trends, best practices, and emerging technologies. You’ll come out of these sessions with new knowledge and skills that can help you level up your career and business.
And let’s be real, sometimes you just need to get out of the office and switch things up a bit. Attending conferences in person is a great way to do that. You get to explore new places, cultures, and perspectives that can be refreshing and inspiring. Plus, stepping out of your comfort zone can lead to personal growth and development, which is always a good thing.
Don’t get me wrong, virtual meetings have their place. They’re super convenient, flexible, and efficient, making them a must-have tool for any organization. But nothing beats in-person meetings for building strong relationships and trust. So, it’s all about finding that sweet spot between the two to make sure you’re getting the most out of your business and personal life.