- Be Aware of the Difference Between Simplex and Duplex
- Virtual Meetings Can Be More Productive than Face-To-Face Meetings if Used Appropriately
Virtual Meetings Can Be More Productive than Face-To-Face Meetings if Used Appropriately
Most of the time, virtual meetings are not as effective as face-to-face meetings. This is particularly true when addressing difficult issues, presenting complicated information, and attempting to motivate a team.
There are other times, however, when virtual meetings are more effective than face-to-face meetings in the right context. Consider the following example.
Many years ago, I was responsible for coordinating the completion of a large set of use cases with a project team and stakeholders who were all over the country. The previous project manager would send the use case documents to everyone and then review them in a phone conference (while everyone read from their desks).
He would take copious notes of the call, update the document per those notes, then send it out again and start the cycle over until the document was complete.
This was an arduous, frustrating task for me. I suffered through one cycle of revisions before I decided I was either going to change the way we reviewed use cases or live with bed-wetting and panic attacks any time someone mentioned a "document review."
Because the meeting was virtual to begin with (that is, a teleconference), I decided to enhance the call by sharing the document online and editing it in real time as comments were solicited.
From the very beginning, this was a very successful approach—cycle time went from weeks to days, and there was a great collective sigh of relief when I announced that we would never have to review a use case document offline again.
In spite of the obviousness of this approach, several people commented that they hadn’t thought of using technology in this way. It wasn’t how they would have reviewed documents if they had been together in person, and they hadn’t considered the fact that being remote might offer an opportunity to make the review process more effective.