SurveyMonkey, the online survey and poll company, recently did a poll that asked people about the future of work. Among the questions they asked was one related to where people preferred to attend different types of meetings. The choices were: in person at workplace, virtually from home, not applicable, and no answer.
Not everyone attends each of the types of meetings so I took their data and adjusted it to see the preference amongst those who said they attend each type of meeting. Below is a graph showing the preference for each meeting type between in person and virtual.
A few things stood out to me.
First, there is a strong preference right now to not attend large group meetings in person at the workplace. Some of that will be due to the concerns about gathering in large groups. I suspect that a significant portion of the preference is that people don’t find the typical large group or “all hands” meetings a good use of their time and prefer to attend virtually where they can more easily multi-task.
Second, there are some types of meetings that have a strong preference for being face to face. The commonality is that both new client and supervisor meetings are high stakes where relationships are very important. It is much harder to read body language and get non-verbal cues when meeting virtually.
Interesting to me was that people who meet with their staff had a much higher preference for in person meetings than the people who are meeting with their supervisor. Each side of the table has a different view. I’m not sure what to conclude about that result.
The most significant result in my mind was for the types of meetings that make up the majority of corporate meetings: small group presentations and group meetings. I would estimate that at least 80-90% of corporate meetings would fall in these categories. For these types of meetings there is a pretty even split between preference for in person and virtual. This suggests that a lot of meetings will end up being hybrid meetings, where those who prefer to attend in person will do so and those who prefer to attend virtually will be at home connected through technology.
The skills at virtual presenting and the new skills business professionals will have to learn in order to manage hybrid meetings will be important moving forward. If you want to improve your skills in virtual presenting, check out my articles at EffectiveVirtualPresentations.com and the videos on my YouTube channel. To learn some of the new skills needed for hybrid presentations, check out my articles at EffectiveHybridPresentations.com.
Dave Paradi has over twenty-two years of experience delivering customized training workshops to help business professionals improve their presentations. He has written ten books and over 600 articles on the topic of effective presentations and his ideas have appeared in publications around the world. His focus is on helping corporate professionals visually communicate the messages in their data so they don’t overwhelm and confuse executives. Dave is one of fewer than ten people in North America recognized by Microsoft with the Most Valuable Professional Award for his contributions to the Excel, PowerPoint, and Teams communities. His articles and videos on virtual presenting have been viewed over 1.1 million times and liked over 10,000 times on YouTube.