“I have found that pre-F2F work online makes F2F meetings more productive. For groups that have to go online and have a chance to be F2F, I usually suggest they start ONLINE first.
This helps people test their sense of others online, gain some identity and trust, then when they go F2F not only does the meeting get going faster, but people can verify their impressions. This builds trust in each other and in online communication. I find groups that start online also go back online easier after the F2F. Groups that start F2F leave with good intentions, but often are slow to go back online.
Finally, there is a time when starting F2F is advisable – that’s when you have a group with NO technology experience. Then you can work with folks hands on to learn the tools. Then go online. Otherwise, start online first!”