Telephone meetings absolutely beat video or even physical meetings hands down.

I have never had a bad meeting in my life and the reason is simple. I have always learned at least one new useful thing in every meeting and learning things is good. Even if it’s the fact the other person is an idiot! Fortunately that is a very rare. Regularly I learn about my industry, new contacts, or new ways to improve my work.

I particularly love telephone meetings because they are so efficient. Fewer distractions mean you concentrate more on what the other person is saying. Your mind is not distracted by something in the background of their video or what they are wearing etc You can make notes on what the person is saying without thinking you are rude for looking away.

Phone calls are also far more location independent than video calls. You can easily take a quick call while you’re shopping or in the car and still sound professional. Not quite so easy with video.

Strangely business calls are shorter. There is a famous quote about meetings should never last more than 17 minutes and that really resonates with me. Have a goal or a target for the meeting, put a 17 minute time limit on it and you will be amazed at what can get done.

Video calls and physical meetings have their place of course. You can’t beat a video call to show things in a meeting or demonstrate how to do something. Similarly, a physical meeting gives you a connection with other attendees just not possible electronically. You can weigh someone up much better through how they look, their timekeeping, body language and other intuitive ways.

The king of all though remains the phone call. Arrange the time for the call so you are in meeting mode when it happens, know what you want to get out of the call, and keep it to 17 minutes. That way every meeting is short and productive.

Remember, even with a bad meeting, you will learn at least one useful thing.