One in five meetings to become virtual by 2014

Business video conferencing could replace up to 20 per cent of “ritual face-to-face” meetings within two years, according to Zibrant – a meetings and events experts. reports that this trend will be encouraged by firms who wish to keep up a visual presence with their clientèle whilst deploying business-wide cost cutting measures.

Fay Sharpe, managing director of sales and marketing for Zibrant, also believes that training employees to use video conferencing facilities is going to be a must.

“The skill in making the most of remote meetings is subtle,” Sharpe said on “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 it being said.

Sharpe added that even on the phone, “a lot of the nuances of vocal tone are also lost.”

Although Sharpe is confident in her convictions, the expert said that video conferencing is unlikely to replace meetings in the early stages of a business venture. This is because it can be hard to create “trust and rapport” online. Therefore, video solutions are more suitable for those who already have active projects set up.

“Once a degree of familiarity has been established, there are typically far fewer obstacles to routinely keeping on top of projects without the need for face to face,” she explained.