The shift to virtual meetings as a business norm is an exciting development that we hope will stick around as we see it modify meeting dynamics and provide a much-needed tool to assist enhance workplace inclusion, diversity, and work-life balance.
Virtual meetings, on the whole, are more efficient because there is an understanding that no one wants to spend more time online than necessary. Your agenda will have been circulated ahead of time, attendees will have done pre-reading, and the meeting will start and end on schedule if it is a well-run virtual meeting. Virtual meeting 'rules' such as remaining silent when not speaking, asking questions in the chat function or raising your hand to indicate you want to speak, allocating time for breaks, and having a Chair who keeps the discussion on track will all result in an effective meeting where decisions are made and time is saved.
Even if a physical meeting room is impressive, receiving a presentation and participating in a meeting online is a more seamless experience than sitting around a table, craning to view the presenter and shuffling chairs to see the presentation screen. With a virtual meeting, everyone can see and hear the presenter equally, the slides can be read clearly on your screen, you can ask questions through the chat function rather than disrupting the flow of the discussion, and you can turn off the camera and take a bathroom break without having to sneak out the back of the room hoping the door doesn't slam and disturb everyone.
Virtual meetings are unquestionably here to stay. The longer we use online meetings as a regular part of our lives, the less likely we are to return to the pre-COVID practices of holding frequent, long in-person meetings. And that's a fantastic thing.