The Participation Blog

Video vs. Face to Face, We Have A Winner!

Video meetings aren’t as effective as being face to face. You’re probably not shocked to learn this. Our world changed with the COVID pandemic; we thought we were out of business until video meeting platforms like Zoom and Teams came riding in like the proverbial cavalry to save the day. Now, welcome to the unintended consequences. After the pandemic subsided and life began to return to our new normal, I first heard one state government agency announce they would no longer bother with the time, trouble and expense of face to face public meetings; all future public meetings would be virtual. We also began seeing more and more people in online training sessions and meetings choose not to bother turning their cameras on, rendering the gatherings as nothing more than online telephone conference calls with an occasional PowerPoint slide added for flavor. The benefits of video meetings or online training classes is clear: it’s fast, efficient, far less troublesome and certainly cheaper than having to pack a bag and fly or even drive to a meeting or class. The future will feature virtual spaces prominently. But – and this is a big but – the virtual world loses a level of humanity, nuance, social, and non-verbal cues, and now we know that people’s brains truly process interactions differently face to face than they do in a virtual space.