While navigating 2020, INVISION needed to find new ways to obtain client feedback. When working on a school design project, we feel engagement with not only with administration, but also the students and community is critical for project success. When the pandemic hit, we shifted to holding these meetings virtually.

In a recent Zoom meeting with a group of 3rd and 4th graders, we showed them different images of educational spaces and asked them what they liked. While students of any age typically don’t hesitate to share their opinions, virtually or face-to-face, it would have been logistically challenging to schedule a face-to-face meeting. In this meeting, we learned some students don’t want a bunch of bright, contrasting colors. Their comment? “It’ll be too hard to focus. It’s not very practical.”

Today, both virtual and face-to-face meetings can provide us with the opportunity to develop stronger relationships with our clients. Looking back, we’ve noticed a trend with the successes and challenges to both meeting options. Here’s what we discovered:

 

Face-to-face meetings

Successes  Challenges
• Get to know each other • Directing focus
• Can involve more people • Social distancing requirements
• Longer timeframe for comments
• Open communication

Virtual meetings

Successes Challenges
• Can reach more people • Digital generational divide
• Can dial in on the visuals; zoom in,
highlight, different views
• Not as personal as a face-to-face
• Level playing field for opinions • Following and responding to chat comments
• Chat function for those who do not want to vocalize opinions or do not feel comfortable • Having dialogues
• No travel required
• Opportunity to train interns

 

Virtual meetings are here to stay. Before the pandemic, lots of people inside and outside of the workplace didn’t feel comfortable navigating a virtual meeting. Now that we’ve been forced to adapt, it’s like riding a bike — we’ve practiced so much now, we know we’re not going to crash.