Technology has been existing for years waiting to be accepted and utilized. The pandemic served as a big reboot as far as helping people re-prioritize what matters. It helped us figure out what works and what doesn’t in using technology effectively.
Social distancing norms and national lockdowns have led us into using digital technology not just for work but also as we communicate with our loved ones. We’ve become accustomed to video conferences, webinars, and live streams, or what we call Virtual Communication. However, while we have enjoyed and mastered the art of communicating virtually, is this the best approach, or is it best to go back to interacting in person?
For us to decide what the best option is, let us define each term and list down the pros and cons.
Virtual Communication is how we communicate with others without being in the same place over digital communication.
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What are the advantages of Virtual Communication?
We no longer need to travel and sit in traffic for meetings. We don’t need to reserve a room in a hotel for out-of-town work. We can have meetings after meetings simply by hopping to the next call. Moreover, some business owners can now freely move locations easily without worrying about communication at all.
More time with family
On a personal level, we have probably used our kitchen at home more than we ever did in the last 10 years. Being able to work from home, we can spend more time with our parents, partners, kids, and even with our pets.
Increased Productivity at Work and Home
When attending informal meetings via conference calls where a camera is not required we learn how to multitask. We can be actively participating in the discussion whilst folding our laundry at the comfort of our home.
Introduction to Technology
Pre-pandemic, most people would not want to give out their information or do things over the computer but now people are feeling more comfortable with it because it is the new normal. This will help in the future in terms of getting on board with technology and seeing the benefits of using it rather than being afraid of it.
Virtual communication has expanded people's wheelhouse. We know people who can be very good customers for our business but we could not go after them because they live far away. Now, we can easily invite them for a meeting without the hassle of travel. We can meet and connect with people from across the country or in places we would not normally be able to.
Remote work has allowed organizations and professionals to increase diversity and inclusion. Before, we were limited by geography. Now we can hire somebody from anywhere in the world and it doesn't matter if you don't meet with them in person.
What are the disadvantages of Virtual Communication?
People who are not technology-savvy find communicating virtually to be complex and difficult. This is especially true with the elderly population because they're not as acclimated as much to digital technology.
It can be difficult to have a networking environment over Zoom, Webex, or other platforms as it only allows one person to talk at a time to ensure clarity.
See related article: Virtual vs. In-Person Meetings: Virtual Is Not the Same as In Person
In-Person Communication depends on human interaction which happens at a specific place and specific time.
What are the advantages of In-Person Communication?
Easier to build strong relationships
Meeting clients in person where you can sit across the table makes it easier to show motivation and dedication thus stronger relationships.
Opportunity to dress up for work
Meeting someone for work requires us to wear long pants and high heel shoes and not just a professional top visible via Zoom. However, according to Scientific American, what you wear can influence your thinking and negotiating skills. The way we dress up can affect our performance and productivity which is more encouraging to do in in-person communication.
Easier to train people
Some training, especially those that need certification is still better to be facilitated in person.
What are the disadvantages of In-person Communication?
There is now a higher pressure to improve the quality of events and meetings as everyone can now easily conclude if the event could have been done virtually instead.
Related Article: What VIRTUAL EVENT vs IN-PERSON ATTENDEES WANT
Perfect Scenario: The Hybrid Method
The Hybrid Method is the combination of virtual and in-person communication. Both have their advantages and disadvantages and therefore we need to have an option depending on the specific goals.
In the hybrid method, people will have more balance in terms of personalized aspects from in-person communication and the flexibility and convenience of virtual communication.
Human contact is something that will surely come back, however, communicating virtually may be here to stay for a while. The most important thing is to get the most of every meeting, networking event, or any social gathering may it be in-person or virtual.
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