Video vs. face-to-face meetings: Who wins?

Spoiler alert: every company should replace some meetings with videos. It’s a strong statement, but it’s true. In the battle over video vs. face-to-face meetings, the real winner is…a little bit of both.
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The sad fact is that most meetings are unproductive. They also eat up far more time than people realize. Research tells us just 29% of the time spent in meetings is time well spent. And yet, the average employee attends eight meetings each week.

If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already heard the hype about using videos in lieu of meetings. Video gives you the conversational nature and information-sharing power of face-to-face meetings, without all the headaches.

But despite all the hype, it’s impossible to replace all meetings with videos. Even though video is an amazing tool, it isn’t the right tool for every job. So how are you supposed to know when to add a meeting to the calendar and when to use video instead?

Take a look at our head-to-head matchup of meetings vs. videos for guidance on this (not-quite) age-old question.

When (and how) most meetings fail us

The bottom line is that meetings disrupt workdays and are, by and large, incredibly inefficient. This problem has only gotten worse with remote work and distributed teams, where people often have to juggle meeting schedules across different time zones.

But here’s the thing. We can’t blame it all on meetings.

The meetings themselves aren’t the problem. The problem is how frequently we call meetings and how we spend our time once everyone is gathered.

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Information overload

We host more meetings than ever, and this number has been on the rise each year since 2008.

Some of these meetings are essential. Gathering together (in-person or virtually) will always be an important tool for brainstorming, discussing complex topics, and making major decisions. This is exactly what meetings were designed for.

But the vast majority of meeting time isn’t spent on these activities.

Instead, we spend most of our time in meetings delivering information that doesn’t require further discussion. Not only is this a bad use of time, but it also makes employees feel overwhelmed and overloaded with information.

Case in point: 65% of managers say meetings keep them from finishing their work.

When people feel like they spend all of their time in meetings, getting bombarded with information, this has a tendency to lower morale and engagement. It’s hard to feel engaged with your work when you don’t have the time or the headspace to get that work done.

A tough road for internal comms pros

The issue of meeting overwhelm is tough on everyone. But it makes life especially hard for internal communication professionals.

One of your biggest goals is to communicate important information to employees in a way that engages and activates them. A company culture of meetings, meetings, meetings runs counter to this goal. When it comes time to deliver those most important messages, everyone has already tuned out.

Anything you can do to make meetings more meaningful and help give people more control over their calendars will have a positive impact on your internal comms goals.

Here’s where internal communication videos come into play.

Yes, there was a time when meetings really couldn’t be replaced with any other type of communication. We just had to deal with meetings.

But video has changed the game.

Video vs. face-to-face meetings: Everyone wins

The idea of replacing a meeting with an internal comms video might feel a bit uncomfortable. Maybe you’ve already tried replacing meetings with emails, instant messages, and the like, and none of it seemed to work.

But when you think about using video, it’s important to remember two things.

First, video isn’t meant to entirely replace meetings; it’s meant to enhance them. (More on that in a minute.) And second, video is capable of doing things that other modes of communication can’t.

Video updates save time

Information-sharing meetings are a prime candidate to be replaced with video. You can usually spot these meetings because they happen every week or have “update” in the name. In some cases, it might just be one section of a meeting that falls into this category.

You can save your team a considerable amount of time by replacing a single “update” meeting with a short, two-minute update video. A great deal of information can be shared in just a few minutes of video. In person and unscripted, this always takes much longer.

The same is true if you remove the information-only portion of an otherwise productive meeting and send that information ahead of time in a video instead.

Video improves communication from all angles

People remember 95% of a message they see in a video. This beats by a wide margin the 10% of information people remember from reading text. That’s probably why 72% of people say they prefer learning new information through video.

In this way, video not only saves valuable meeting time, it also reduces miscommunication. When you put important information and updates into a video, people are more likely to remember that information. Unlike meetings, videos can also be rewatched any time. If the information is dense, or if someone simply needs a refresher, they can refer back to the video as many times as they need.

Necessary meetings become more efficient with video

As we already mentioned, not all meetings can be replaced with videos. Meetings where people are coordinating, decision-making, or actively working on projects are still valuable.

But the beauty of video is that it doesn’t just clear extraneous meetings off your calendar. It also improves the necessary meetings.

Say your leadership team schedules a meeting to iron out the details of a new policy, fine-tune an upcoming culture initiative, or make strategic decisions related to new performance data. Chances are, someone will spend the first half of the meeting presenting background information on the topic being discussed.

What happens if that information is shared through a video instead?

It might sound too good to be true, but if you use a combination of video clips (or pre-made animations) and very succinct on-screen text, you can deliver an entire meeting’s worth of information with two to three minutes of video.

Humans process visual information 60,000 times faster than text. Video appeals to multiple senses and gives you the power to support your message with visuals. In other words, you can say a whole lot with a whole little.

Also, the act of creating a video naturally helps you keep your message brief. Because of the time-limited format, you have to focus on the important points and cut out anything extraneous. An idea that takes fifteen minutes to explain in person can be winnowed down to just a fraction of that time.

You can share your video during the meeting to replace a presentation. And you can also share that same video with everyone after the meeting, so they can refer back to it rather than relying on their own notes.

Video is a 24/7 resource

hether we like it or not, people miss meetings. This problem is impossible to avoid entirely, especially with remote and distributed teams.

When employees work in different timezones, it isn’t always reasonable to expect everyone to show up for every meeting. A video, on the other hand, can be watched any time. If you create video resources for sharing information, everyone can get all the information they need, even if they don’t make it to the meeting.

And as we already mentioned, these video resources will stick around as an easy reference when people need a refresher. No need to sift through spotty meeting notes or call on a colleague for help. The information is at hand and can be watched in a few short minutes.

How to use video to ease meeting fatigue

It’s easy to say that videos can replace and improve meetings. But what exactly does that mean? Broadly speaking, it means creating one of three types of videos, based on the problem you’re trying to solve. Here are your options.

1. Send meeting invitation videos

Remember the trouble with people missing meetings? Sometimes people have legitimate reasons, but sometimes they miss a meeting because they didn’t notice the announcement or they just plain forgot. Using videos to announce meetings helps solve the latter issue. Why? Because people are more likely to open and read emails that include video. People are 65% more likely to open an email if it includes a video.

If you need people to come to the meeting prepared, include prep tasks or a meeting agenda in the video invite instead of attaching a separate text document in your email. People are more likely to watch that video than they are to open up your agenda attachment.

2. Use videos for meeting content

If it’s worth presenting during a meeting, it’s probably worth presenting with a video. Using videos to present information during meetings shortens presentations and gives your team more time to brainstorm, discuss, and make decisions.

These videos can also stand-in for meetings where the only purpose is to share updates and information. If the information you’re sharing doesn’t require further discussion or brainstorming, your meeting video can replace the meeting completely to help keep the calendar clear.

One important point: if you host remote meetings, learn how to screen share with audio before you show a video during a virtual meeting. It’s easy to do, but it’s a little different than screen sharing without audio.

3. Create meeting recaps

The biggest weakness of meetings is that they’re one-time events. There are no do-overs if someone misses a meeting or misses a specific item during a meeting.

But meeting recap videos are as good as a do-over, maybe even better.

A meeting recap serves up all the critical information from a meeting for both attendees and absentees. Additionally, an edited meeting recap skips all the meandering conversations that are natural for face-to-face meetings but a huge waste of time for someone just trying to catch the highlights.

Get more out of your meeting videos with Biteable

In the battle over meetings vs. videos, everyone wins. Meetings will always be a part of our work lives, but video makes those meetings more efficient, engaging, and productive.

With Biteable, creating videos to replace and enhance your meetings is easier than it’s ever been.

Choose from hundreds of ready-made video templates, add the content of your meeting through on-screen text and visuals, then brand your video with a few clicks. Any template can be customized with branded scenes, animations, and stock footage from Biteable’s library of video resources.

A collaborative platform, single-link video sharing, and trackable video analytics make Biteable the go-to tool for internal communication professionals.


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