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Do we still need to meet?

The rise of digital technology and social media has expanded the ways we can communicate with each other. Indeed, even phone calls are rarer in today’s world where messaging apps have taken over. In the context of business, a huge chunk of day-to-day coordination and simple messages is easily conveyed through emails, viber groups and specialized tools, such as project management or video conferencing. So are face-to-face meetings still needed? Could this time-consuming activity be eliminated? We asked Pia Reyes-Cruz, an HR and Organizational Development professional, for her thoughts on instances where meetings could still be important.

Of course, technology has tremendously transformed the workplace in terms of how we run meetings. These tools definitely boost productivity, creativity, and even decision making. However, they are still just tools. They enhance meetings in many ways, but we still cannot totally do away with in-person meetings for several reasons:

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1. The nonverbals that are highly present in face-to-face interactions are loaded with information. Eye contact, body language, gestures, and facial expressions are usually undetected in technology-driven interactions. This ability to be able “read” people and understand what they truly mean and feel versus what they simply say online may matter a lot in making decisions. For example, recruiters feel much more confident in making hiring decisions after face-to-face interviews vs phone or virtual interviews. The atmosphere among the meeting participants and unspoken group sentiments is also important things that go undetected in virtual meetings.

2. There is more engagement and commitment when people are in the physical company of each other.

The naturalness of having small talk on the side, unscripted and flexible discussions, and natural flow of conversation and pleasantries as well as the opportunity to observe each others’ nonverbals lead to more information, trust, and empathy.

This leads to building connections and relationships vital to all organizations.

3. Meeting goals tend to be achieved faster in face-to-face meetings. A Harvard study states that face-to-face requests are 34 times more likely to garner positive responses than email. According to Ulrich Kellerer, a leadership expert, international speaker, and author, “67 percent of senior executives and managers said their organization’s productivity would increase if superiors communicated face-to-face more often.”

Cruz will conduct another run of “Leading Effective Meetings: Optimizing your Time and Resources” on Sept. 5, 2019, at the Inquirer Academy.

The Inquirer Academy is at 4168 Don Chino Roces Ave. corner Ponte St., Makati City. For more information about the courses or if you would like to add your input on the article, you may email [email protected], call (632) 834-1557 or 771-2715 and look for Jerald Miguel or Karl Paz, or visit www.facebook.com/InquirerAcademy.

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