8 Benefits of In-Person Meetings: Meeting in Person vs Online

A young woman holding a tablet backlit by sunlight coming through a window confidently addresses her colleagues sitting around her at a table with laptops open in front of them or with notepads and pens for taking notes. Image at Offices.net.

Meetings are an essential aspect of corporate culture. It’s estimated that the average office worker in the US spends a third of their time in meetings, and the figures are even higher for executives and senior staff.

The widespread adoption of online communication tools has transformed the way meetings take place, prompting a debate between the merits of in-person and virtual meetings. In this article, we examine the pros and cons of in-person vs. online meetings and discuss why face-to-face interactions continue to have value.

Online meetings: Pros and Cons

In a relatively short period of time, virtual meetings have become the norm in most office-based companies. Data from 2022 shows that in just two years, the amount of time spent in virtual meetings had increased from 14 hours per week to more than 21 hours per week, matching or even exceeding the time spent in face-to-face meetings. There are several advantages and disadvantages to this virtual meeting format.

A woman sitting at a blue desk and taking notes with pen and paper is on a video call with a female colleague who is wearing a white business shirt and glasses and looks concerned. Image at Offices.net.


Virtual meetings eliminate the need for travel and, therefore, help cut down on travel and accommodation expenses. Depending on meeting frequency and attendance numbers, going virtual could save tens of thousands of dollars, especially in the current scenario of rising travel and transportation prices.

Online meetings are also convenient because participants can join from home or from other locations, increasing scheduling flexibility, even when meeting with teams or clients located in different time zones. And since participants don’t need to travel, at the end of the meeting, they still have time to work on more productive tasks.


The main disadvantage of video conferences is that they present communication challenges at various levels. First, technical issues can interrupt the meeting and interfere with effective communication. Teams who connect to conference rooms from different geographical locations are more likely to experience this kind of disruption due to differences in bandwidth and Internet speed.

Secondly, the lack of non-verbal cues from body language can also negatively affect communication. Cultural anthropologists believe that gestures, posture, and body movements help us make sense of up to 70% of conversations, and this is lacking in online meetings.

A woman alone in a boardroom is arguing on a video conference call on her silver laptop and is gesturing at papers she is holding, image at Offices.net.

8 Benefits of in-person meetings

1. Rich non-verbal communication

In-person meetings allow participants to observe and better interpret non-verbal cues like gesturing and facial expressions, which add a rich layer of context to business conversations. At the same time, being physically present for a face-to-face meeting reduces the chances of misunderstanding or misinterpreting what colleagues say.

2. Spontaneous and interactive communication

In-person meetings facilitate a more direct and spontaneous communication style, which can help create more fluid conversations and productive meetings where different points of view and creative solutions are presented. In face-to-face meetings, participants usually feel more comfortable asking questions, requesting clarification, and engaging in spontaneous discussions, whereas online meetings can be especially hard on introverted team members.

A man in a blue collared shirt sits at his desk, and his two female colleagues are standing at his side discussing something on his computer image at Offices.net.

3. Improved decision-making

Because communication is more fluid and participation levels tend to be higher, face-to-face meetings often result in more efficient decision-making. In these meetings, participants can engage in constructive debate and exchange diverse perspectives. This ability to have real-time discussions helps make informed decisions without delays.

4. Building trust and credibility

In-person meetings help establish trust and credibility – after all, we’re social beings, and presence matters in all interactions. This is especially critical when meeting for the first time with potential clients, since face-to-face meetings can help establish a climate of trust and authenticity.

Bird's-eye view of eight colleagues sitting around all sides of a rectangular meeting desk with laptops, tablets, and note-taking implements resting in front of each. Two, a man and woman, are standing and shaking hands across the desk image at Offices.net.

5. Fewer distractions

In today’s digital world, our attention tends to be divided into multiple things. In a meeting context, multi-tasking and divided attention are clear disadvantages. In fact, some surveys report that staff are 76% more likely to get distracted during video-calls.

In-person meetings present fewer distractions, because when participants gather in the same physical space, they’re less tempted to check emails and get sidetracked by other online activities.

6. Privacy and confidentiality

Privacy and confidentiality are paramount in business settings. In most cases, it’s easier to ensure these aspects during an in-person meeting, which won’t be as exposed to third parties as online communications. In face-to-face meetings, whatever happens behind closed doors stays behind closed doors, and there are fewer chances of eavesdropping or confidential data leaks.

Four male colleagues in casual attire brainstorm in a private room, a windowed wall separating it from the main office. Two are seated on a blue couch with their laptops on their laps, one is seated on an office chair with his laptop on his lap, and the fourth man is standing at a whiteboard between them, holding a coffee mug in one hand and a whiteboard marker in the other, pointing at words and sticky notes affixed to the whiteboard image at Offices.net.

7. Improved brainstorming

The fluid nature of communication that characterizes meeting face-to-face encourages creative thinking and can lead to improved brainstorming sessions. Researchers from Columbia Business School found that teams meeting over Zoom generated fewer ideas than those meeting in person, possibly because these sessions lack the energy and synergy of face-to-face interactions.

8. Stronger relationships

Due to all of the above, in-person meetings make it easier to build strong relationships with clients and staff. At the end of each meeting, there’s often time and space for informal exchanges, which rarely happen once a Zoom meeting is over. Over time, this can help create closer and more meaningful business relationships and connections.

A man and woman in business attire are sitting at a desk, smiling broadly and high-fiving with a laptop on the desk between them. The desk is also scattered with various papers, writing implements, and coffee mugs. Behind them, backlit by sunlight coming through floor-to-ceiling windows, is a whiteboard with printouts of graphs and figures affixed to it with colorful magnets image at Offices.net.


Although in-person meetings usually offer more advantages than online meetings, this doesn’t mean that the latter should be ruled out. It’s a matter of striking the right balance between in-person and online meetings. If your company has switched to remote or hybrid work, it may be worth considering – alongside hosting remote meetings in virtual meeting spaces – the occasional use of physical meeting rooms in business centers and coworking spaces, to provide some opportunities for the benefits derived from in-person meetings.

Are you a company on the lookout for flexible office space in the US? In highly sought-after areas like New York City, Los Angeles, Houston, Atlanta, Miami, Chicago, and Dallas, we have a variety of well-equipped serviced offices and coworking spaces. Alternatively, feel free to give us a call at 972-913-2742 to discuss your business’s unique needs with one of our office space experts.

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