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Why women prefer online meetings

A survey suggests that women are driving a trend toward having more online meetings, rather than in person. The reasons might strike some as quite fascinating.

Oh, look. They don't have a man on their home page.
Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Sometimes, trends happen beneath our noses, because our eyes are focused on some distant horizon -- or on this morning's fine YouTube video featuring a cat, a baseball bat, and a bowl of cereal.

So I am grateful to a piece of research conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of a company called TeamViewer, which reveals to me that women would prefer not to have so many physical meetings.

Indeed, apparently womens' preference for online meetings far exceeds that of men.

You might imagine, given that one of TeamViewer's purposes in life is to sell you online-meetings software, that the company would just toss out the information before sending a salesman to knock on your door. (Virtually, of course.)

But, no. Harris Interactive seems to have sat their respondents down and asked for more information.

They learned that women perceived some basic facts rather more adroitly than male respondents: online meetings save money and time.

However, the female respondents then declared in far more significant numbers than the males that online meetings were "less nerve-racking." Moreover, they claimed that participants were less distracted.

This is curious. My own impression of any kind of meeting these days is that those present are multitasking and barely listening to the conversation. Each seems to sit there with at least one electronic device upon which they tap and into which they stare like freak-show automatons.

Could it be that women feel more comfortable on camera? Could it be that they enjoy meetings being held from, say, the comfort of their own homes or offices? Could it even be that during an online meeting they know that no male will come in smelling of beer, last night's fine dance club, or, well, Burger King?

This piece of research probed even further. TeamViewer found that women were far more emphatic than men when it came to such concepts as organization, speed, respectfulness, fairness, decisiveness, and, well, brains.

Which might lead some HR directors, CFOs, and CEOs to wonder: "Why on earth should we hire men ever again?"