Virtual conferencing will replace up to 20 per cent of ‘ritual’ face to face meetings in the next two years, according to Fay Sharpe, managing director sales and marketing, for Zibrant.
She predicts that the rise in uptake of technology for virtual meetings will be ‘one of the most significant trends of 2012’.
“Companies are beginning to seriously embrace the virtual meeting as an effective way to achieve more with less,” she said. “What was once a peripheral novelty or ‘one off’ for most is now becoming an integral part of strategic meetings planning.”
Sharpe added that Zibrant was now offering training in virtual meetings techniques: “This will be as important as investment in the technology itself,” she said. “Both facilitators and participants require guidance to maximise the potential of this ‘new era’ of online collaboration as the techniques required for such meetings are so different from those for face to face.
“Many visual cues, for example, will at worst be missing altogether or at best much harder to read so there needs to be greater awareness and sensitivity to how delegates are reacting to what is being said. In the digital age, much more attention needs to be paid to ensuring proper engagement. The financial rewards, however, are too great for there to be insurmountable barriers.”
Pictured: Fay Sharpe