In-Person Meetings vs Virtual

In-Person Meetings vs Virtual Meetings: A Comprehensive Comparison

Akshay Birje
• June 14, 2024

(6 min read)

Whether you are part of a small business or a large corporation, meetings are a part of every workplace. In fact, the past few years have seen a disruption in the way businesses hold meetings, thanks to the rapid rise in the popularity of virtual meetings.

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Today, you can now schedule any kind of professional gathering, of any scale, either in person or virtually, according to your budget, preferences, and needs. The only thing you need to figure out is which format works best for your exact event – virtual or in-person.

Differences Between In-person and Virtual Meetings


In-person Meetings

Virtual Meetings


In-person events are definitely more expensive than online ones, requiring a huge budget. 

They end up costing a lot more due to expenses like transportation, accommodation, food, venue rental, audio-visual equipment, and other logistical expenses.

Virtual meetings can be hosted at low costs and are a lot more budget-friendly compared to in-person ones.

Most expenses related to in-person events are eliminated in digital meetings, such as transportation, room rental, food, and more.

Virtual events provide a cost-effective solution for businesses.


When attendees are physically present in the meeting room, they better engage with the sessions.

In fact, face-to-face interaction significantly enhances the participation levels of attendees.

Virtual meeting attendees can be distracted by their surroundings & can be less engaged with the meeting.

However, solid virtual meeting software provides robust engagement tools to keep remote attendees actively engaged. 

Human Interaction & Communication 

In-person meetings allow participants to have a rich and in-depth conversation.

Eye contact, facial expressions, hand gestures, and body language allow attendees to communicate better and more effectively.

With technology, participants from around the world can communicate easily but the absence of physical presence is somewhat felt. 

In a virtual meeting, you need structured communication to keep the discussion going forward.

Physical Presence

All the participants are physically present at the same meeting location. 

Participants attend meetings from various locations, using video meeting software.

Meeting Duration

On-site meetings tend to last longer.

Digital meetings are structured and shorter in duration


What is an In-Person Meeting?

What is an in-person meeting

An in-person meeting, as the name suggests, is when participants gather physically at one location and interact with each other face-to-face. In business contexts, they typically take place in conference rooms,  meeting rooms, or within the office premises. 

In-person meetings allow attendees to have a direct conversation with their peers, which fosters real-time engagement among participants. The purpose of holding in person meetings is to boost the quality of engagement, interaction, and communication.

What is a Virtual Meeting?

What is a virtual meeting

A virtual meeting is a relatively new form of gathering that is conducted digitally via a virtual conference platform using the Internet. Unlike in-person meetings, virtual meetings do not take place at a singular location. 

Meeting attendees can participate in virtual meetings from wherever they are, using electronic devices such as mobile phones, tablets, or laptops. The goal of virtual meetings is to allow people to interact with other people remotely, regardless of their physical locations.

According to the 2024 Global Meetings and Events Forecast, the majority of meetings will be conducted 20% hybrid, 21% virtual, and 59% in-person.

Benefits of In-Person Meetings

Despite the rise in popularity and adoption of virtual meetings,  in-person meetings still hold value and can be more effective than virtual ones, in situations where all meeting attendees are or can gather under the same roof.

In-person meetings actually assist organizations to hold more efficient and productive meetings, in situations where they are possible and practical.

Let’s look at the key benefits of holding in-person meetings:

  • Non-verbal communication: One of the primary benefits of in-person meetings is they involve face-to-face interaction among attendees. In fact, holding in person meetings allows participants to communicate clearly and efficiently, as they can effectively interpret non-verbal cues to have deeper communication with one another. There is minimal chance for misunderstandings and miscommunications since body language plays a huge role.  

This makes in-person meetings preferable as it allows attendees to engage in high-quality discussions that are also more productive.

  • Builds Strong Relationships: In-person meetings naturally build a sense of trust in a physical environment. It provides an opportunity to create a bond between attendees.

According to a Harvard Business Review survey, 95% of people believe face-to-face meetings are essential for building long-term relationships in the workplace. 

In-person meetings allow attendees to engage in informal talk during breaks or after the main meeting, allowing attendees to develop deeper and more meaningful connections with each other. They can enjoy each other’s company, share personal stories in coffee or tea breaks, and laugh at spontaneous moments.

  • Enhances the Participation Level: A major benefit of in-person meetings is they help in actively engaging all the participants during the meeting. It provides equal opportunity for all individuals to present their thoughts and ideas. 

Whiteboards and sticky notes are frequently used in an in-person meeting because they allow participants to instantly share their ideas in real-time. This visual approach enhances communication and automatically increases the engagement level of attendees throughout the session.

  • Better Networking & Collaboration: In-person meetings increase the dynamics of communication. In a digital meeting, it can get challenging at times to understand what the other person is saying, for various reasons.

However, that is not the case with physical meetings, where participants can instantly ask questions, quickly respond to other’s comments, and maintain a better flow of interaction.  

All of these play a huge role in maximizing the networking, partnership, and overall business relationship with prospective clients. 

  • Minimal Distractions: In traditional meetings, attendees are less likely to multitask or be distracted by their phones, gadgets, or anything else. In fact, face-to-face meetings encourage meeting attendees to focus more on the meeting topics, which maximizes overall concentration and productivity level.

  • Limited Technological Challenges: The ultimate benefit of in-person meetings is that it eliminates the necessity for technical issues or glitches. On-site meetings significantly reduce the dependency on tools and platforms that are internet-dependent. 

Technical glitches like internet connectivity issues, screen sharing challenges, and camera or audio issues are not issues you will face during in-person meetings.

Benefits of Virtual Meetings

In recent times, virtual meetings have seen a tremendous increase in popularity,and have revolutionized the way global businesses operate. Undoubtedly, online meetings offer countless benefits to businesses of all sizes. 

Virtual meetings are organized entirely through digital platforms. Attendees can join the meeting from any location, as long as they have access to a stable internet connection and an electronic device.

Let’s now take a look at the many benefits that virtual meetings provide:

  • Cost Effectiveness: One of the core benefits of virtual meetings is they significantly reduce the costs associated with typical in-person meetings such as travel, office or conference room rental, etc. for companies that have employees spread across the world.  

In fact, reports suggest that  84% of organizations agree that virtual events are more cost-effective than in-person events.

Typically, most virtual meeting platforms offer something for everyone when it comes to budget, accommodating meetings of any scale – from a ‘handful’ of people to several thousands of attendees. 

  • Flexible & Accessible: Virtual meetings offer greater flexibility and accessibility than traditional meetings. It removes geographical boundaries, enabling participants to attend events from anywhere, and at any time of the day. 

Businesses that are spread all over the world, and have global teams & international clients can really benefit the most from virtual events. They can schedule and engage in a meeting at their convenience.

  • Time-Saving: Another benefit of virtual meetings is that they save a significant amount of time for your teams, clients, speakers, and stakeholders. 

For in-person meetings to take place, multiple things need to come together – like availability of meeting halls, schedule alignment of all attendees, access to all equipment that may be needed, etc. This is majorly reduced in the case of virtual meetings. 

Virtual meetings also eliminate travel time, allowing participants to attend the meeting from their home, office, or any suitable place. 

It also saves the valuable time of the event organizer. They do not need to book conference rooms, catering services, and other logistical aspects.

  • Location-Freedom: Virtual meetings allow teams the freedom to attend meetings from any location. Whether they are in a coffee shop, at a coworking space, or traveling somewhere, as long as they have a stable internet connection, they can effortlessly participate in the event using their device. 

Virtual meetings remove the location limitation in meetings, proving to be a game-changer for remote teams.

  • Record the Meetings: Contrary to in-person meetings, virtual meetings can easily be recorded from the very platform that it is hosted on. Most reliable online meeting platforms come with built-in recording features that allow you to record the entire session. 

This provides organizations with a huge advantage. Once the meeting is over, event organizers can share the meeting recordings with those who could not attend the live meeting. 

The recordings are beneficial to participants as well. They can easily revisit the recordings to refer to the points discussed during the meeting.

  • Access to Other High-value Functionalities: Virtual event platforms offer numerous features to organize a successful event. With virtual meetings, you can share your screen, present PowerPoint slides, customize the event as per your brand, use whiteboard & chat functionalities, run live polls or Q&A, and more. 

Subsequently, you can allow your participants to network with one another. Also, you can split meeting attendees into smaller groups for focused discussions. In addition to this, you can leverage the gamification features to boost engagement levels.

A virtual event platform will surely enhance the attendee experience and assist you in hosting a successful virtual event. 

  • Improves the Work-life Balance: Virtual meetings enhance the work-life balance of your employees. Given that they no longer need to be physically present at a location, virtual meetings enable people to balance their personal and professional lives in healthier ways. 

By attending virtual meetings, attendees can properly manage their time and overall well-being. This will minimize their stress level and increase their satisfaction with work.

Drawbacks of In-Person Meetings vs Virtual Meetings

In-Person Meetings Drawbacks

  • Higher Cost: In-person meetings tend to be more expensive due to travel expenses, venue rental costs, printed materials, and other logistical costs.

  • Limited Flexibility: Face-to-face meetings are less flexible. Given that it requires people to make themselves available in person to attend, it limits flexibility in their personal and professional lives, that they can enjoy, otherwise. 

  • Scheduling: Each participant needs to be available at the same place and time for the meeting. This could be challenging for people operating from different locations.

  • Can Not Be Recorded: Unlike virtual events, in-person meetings need special equipment and resources to be recorded.

Virtual Meetings Drawbacks

  • Lacks In-person Interaction: Virtual meetings lack face-to-face interaction. They lack non-verbal cues such as body language, hand gestures, and eye contact. It will be difficult for attendees to establish personal connections through the screen.

  • Technological Challenges: As virtual meetings entirely rely on technology and internet connection, video freezes, voice echoing, and poor internet connections all continue to be common occurrences during video meetings. 

All of these glitches can hinder the smoothness of your virtual meetings. Even minor disruptions could affect the tempo of the meeting conversation.

  • Meeting Fatigue: Staring at a screen for long periods of time, across multiple meetings can be stressful.  This can lead to mental discomfort and fatigue. Because of this, attendees may find it challenging to focus on the meeting.

  • Mundane Distractions: Virtual attendees can easily get distracted by their surroundings. When people are not in the same physical place, they can easily zone out. 

Attending a meeting from home or at their own workplace may cause people to multitask throughout the meeting, such as checking email, browsing the web, and doing other private tasks. This could lead to attendees losing interest in the meeting.

How to Choose the Best Meeting Format: In Person or Virtual 

To make the right choice between virtual vs. in-person, you need to consider some important factors that match your specific goals. Here are some factors to consider to know which format works best for any meeting – in-person or virtual.

  • Define Your Meeting Goal: First, clearly define the purpose and goal of the meeting. Understand what is the primary objective of the meeting that is planned. Do you want to share information, build relationships, train people, or something else? 

  • Check Attendee Availability and Location: The geographical location of your meeting attendees is highly essential for deciding your meeting format. Consider your attendees’, speakers’, and stakeholders’ location. 

See if they all live nearby or if they are from different states or countries. Along with this, check the participant’s availability. All of these factors are vital when choosing a meeting format.

  • Consider Budget: An essential component of your decision-making process is taking your budget into account. See what your minimum and maximum budget is for hosting a meeting. 

If you consider hosting in-person meetings, travel, accommodation, and venue costs, all these things will cost much. If you are considering organizing an online event, you just need to buy a subscription plan for a video meeting platform. Check and understand which format will save your expenses.


In-person meetings usually take place in a physical location whereas virtual meetings entirely happen digitally on virtual meeting platforms. In-person meetings provide interactive and a more personalized experience. On the other hand, online gatherings offer greater flexibility and cost-effective solutions.

When choosing between in-person or virtual, consider the meeting goals, needs, and limitations. In-person meetings are ideal for effective communication and collaboration while virtual meetings are best for flexible scheduling and dispersed participants. 


Virtual meetings allow your attendees, employers, customers, and team members to participate and engage in the meetings virtually. Online meeting attendees can join conference meetings from all over the world, and they are not required to be in the same place. On the other hand, in-person meetings need the physical presence of all the participants. Whether it is a conference room or office area, attendees need to travel to the physical location to participate in the meeting.

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