Clash of Meetings: Virtual vs. In-Person – Which Reigns Supreme?

April 9th, 2024

Clash of Meetings: Virtual vs. In-Person – Which Reigns Supreme?

Clash of Meetings: Virtual vs. In-Person – Which Reigns Supreme?

POSTED IN Zen & the Art of Legal Networking

In this ongoing saga, we’ve witnessed the rise of virtual gatherings over the past couple of years, with many of us now yearning to return to in-person interactions. So, which mode of meeting takes the crown? The answer might surprise you—it’s a tie!

Virtual meetings have become an indispensable part of our professional lives, offering a plethora of advantages. But before you ditch your webcam for good, let’s delve into the benefits of both virtual and in-person meetings, and why you should embrace them both.


Efficiency: Bid farewell to long commutes and tedious travel times. Virtual meetings are a time-saving marvel, especially for those tethered to the billable hour (ahem). With no need to factor in travel time, you can squeeze more productive hours into your day.

Accessibility: Distance is no longer a barrier. Virtual meetings bridge geographical gaps, allowing participants from diverse locations to convene effortlessly. Whether it’s a client meeting or a conference, you can engage without the hassle of multiple flights and layovers.

Inclusivity: Virtual meetings promote inclusivity on various fronts. They offer flexibility for remote workers, accommodating individuals with caregiving responsibilities, disabilities, or compromised health. Studies have shown that remote work fosters a more inclusive environment, and virtual meetings extend this inclusivity to professional gatherings. We love to see it!

Cost-Effectiveness: Let’s talk dollars and cents. Virtual meetings slash expenses associated with travel, accommodation, and time away from the office. The cost-saving potential is substantial, making virtual sessions an attractive option for budget-conscious professionals. We know that cost pressures often come from clients, so when this gets passed to lawyers, virtual meetings can be an easy answer.

Adaptability: In an era marked by uncertainty, virtual meetings provide a lifeline. We adapted virtual meetings during periodic lockdowns and health concerns, and the virtual option ensured continuity, allowing participation regardless of physical constraints. But even today, the pandemic is not a thing of the past, and it allows people who have immune concerns, may be feeling just a little ill, or may be in war zones but are somehow still working (I can’t even believe I am typing those words, but our Ukrainian colleagues have worked through the war continuously) to continue to operate their businesses without interruption.


Nonverbal Communication: Despite the wonders of video conferencing, nothing beats face-to-face interaction. In-person meetings facilitate nuanced communication through body language and social cues, which account for a significant portion of our understanding. From client consultations to networking, the richness of in-person interaction cannot be replicated virtually.

Enhanced Engagement: Ever find yourself drifting off during a virtual meeting? In-person gatherings command attention, fostering greater engagement and focus. With fewer distractions, participants are fully immersed in the discussion, maximizing the value of the meeting.

Trust Building: There’s something inherently trustworthy about a firm handshake and direct eye contact. Research suggests that in-person encounters cultivate trust more effectively than virtual interactions. Whether it’s sealing a deal or forging new connections, the personal touch of in-person meetings lays a solid foundation for trust. Plus, there are still some cultures that will not refer business to someone that they have never met in person, so it is essential to consider cultural differences.

Intangible Connection: Call it the “special sauce” or the magic of human interaction—there’s an undeniable allure to in-person meetings. Beyond the agenda, there’s a sense of camaraderie and connection that flourishes when people come together in the same space. Whether it’s bonding over shared experiences or spontaneous conversations, in-person meetings foster a sense of community that transcends the virtual realm.

In conclusion, the battle of meetings isn’t about choosing sides—it’s about embracing the best of both worlds. Virtual meetings offer efficiency and accessibility, while in-person gatherings provide depth and connection. So, keep your calendars diverse with a mix of virtual and in-person engagements, and reap the benefits of each as we navigate the future of work.

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