London– Although video conferencing has become an irreplaceable technology but technology-savvy entrepreneurs should not overlook the importance of traditional, face-to-face interactions, suggests new research.

Video conferencing is helping people overcome the barrier of physical distance and saving them time and money but richer forms of communication, such as face-to-face meetings, should be preferred when trying to convey particularly complex information or completing a business deal, said Jialin Hardwick, researcher from the University of Lincoln in Britain.

“Networking activities at conferences or trade events provide good opportunities to meet other professionals in the industry, helping to reduce the feeling of inter-personal distance brought up by the technology and enabling future virtual interactions,” Hardwick added in a university statement.

Building on previous research on video conferencing in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the study suggested that entrepreneurs should recognise the benefits and limitations of different communication tools, including video conferencing at different points in the networking process.

“Investing in collaborative relationships by following up on virtual interactions with richer face-to-face meetings could be effective in developing and maintaining a valuable relationship from a long-term perspective, even though it may be costly at the time,” Hardwick added.

The findings were presented at the 2016 High Technology Small Firms (HTSF) Conference on Technology-based Entrepreneurship at the British Academy of Management recently.