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Pros and cons of teleconferencing

What are the advantages and disadvantages of teleconferencing?
One of the major advantages of teleconferencing is its potential to reduce the cost of group meetings. Savings come primarily from reduced travel costs.

Some more advantages to teleconferencing are:

  • Attend a business meeting hundreds of miles away without leaving your office
  • Reduce travel expenses
  • Reduce travel time requirements
  • Schedule meetings minutes ahead of time instead of days or weeks
  • Keep in touch with other branches of your business

See http://www.natav.com/telecon.html

While teleconferencing is characterized by many advantages, it does have disadvantages:

  • Technical failures with equipment, including connections that aren't made
  • Unsatisfactory for complex interpersonal communication, such as negotiation or bargaining
  • Impersonal, less easy to create an atmosphere of group rapport
  • Lack of participant familiarity with the equipment, the medium itself, and meeting skills
  • Acoustical problems within the teleconferencing rooms
  • Difficulty in determining participant speaking order; frequently one person monopolizes the meeting
  • Greater participant preparation and preparation time needed
  • Informal, one-to-one, social interaction not possible

To minimize some of the potential problems, users should carefully evaluate their meeting needs and goals to determine if teleconferencing is appropriate. Users should also assess their audience. For example, consider the size of the group, the level of experience with teleconferencing, and the extent of familiarity with each other. These precautions won't eliminate all the problems that could arise, but they should reduce the likelihood of their occurring.
See http://www.joe.org/joe/1984september/a4.html

This was last published in September 2002

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