Deciding Between In-Person and Virtual Meetings

February 2024

Virtual meetings became more widespread during and since the pandemic but are certainly are not new.  The technology has been around for many years

We are at a crossroads.  Some prefer to continue meeting virtually.  There is less need to leave home after returning from work to attend an evening meeting.  Virtual meetings are shorter, more efficient and decisions are made more quickly.  Managers don’t have to work late and can avoid evening travel.  Weather is not a concern.  Yet many prefer in-person meetings.  They are more social, discussions are more detailed, and better decisions arise despite any conflicts that may arise.

A Director’s Perspective

Virtual meetings are more efficient and focused.  Decision making is quicker.  Shared documents ensure everyone sees the same information at the same time.  Participants can attend from anywhere.  On the downside, virtual meeting attendees can be more distracted.  It is easier for them to focus on other matters rather than the business of the corporation.  Difficult matters are less thoroughly discussed resulting in poorer decisions.

In-person meetings tend to be more social.  They may include dinner and unrelated conversation.  They go off topic.  Discussions take longer.  They are more detailed and thoughtful.  Arguments arise.  There is more wasted and unproductive time.

A Condominium Manager Perspective

Virtual meetings are easier.  They eliminate the need to remain at the office after hours for an after-dinner meeting.  There is more time for family and personal activities.

In-person meetings allow the manager to develop relationships with directors and owners that are essential to their effectiveness and personal success.  Absent these interactions, condominium managers could not develop the trust that is necessary for them to excel.

An Owner Perspective

In-person meetings allow neighbours to socialize.  A post-meeting social period with food and beverage is one way to increase attendance.  Poorly chaired, in-person meetings can allow one individual or topic to dominate an entire agenda.   There can be much wasted time and emotions running high.

Virtual meetings can be attended from the comfort of home.  It is more difficult for attendees to bring up topics that the chair prefers to ignore.  Microphones can be silenced.  Questions submitted by chat are easily ignored, and may not be visible or noticed by attendees.

A Guest Perspective

Virtual meetings are more convenient.  A recording secretary takes minutes at meetings.  A lawyer, engineer, contractor, accountant and others may attend to provide their specialized expertise or knowledge.  Some condominium lawyers, auditing firms and minute taking services have taken the position they will only attend virtual meetings so they don’t incur the time and cost of travel.

In-person meetings deliver better results which is why most vendors and service providers prefer and will attend them.  Attendees are more engaged and discussions are more productive.  Building the relationship is more effective when meeting in-person.  There is greater trust in individuals, their expertise and what they say when meetings are in-person.  All of this makes for better decisions.


Condominium corporations have only had limited experience with virtual meetings.  Among those who have used them for many years, the overwhelming choice is to have in-person meetings to the greatest extent possible.

While virtual meetings do serve a role in some situations, they are not a replacement for in-person meetings.