In-Person Meetings Prove Invaluable
The meetings industry recently recognized the impact in-person meetings have on people, businesses and the economy with its Global Meetings Industry Day (GMID). Initiated by the Meetings Mean Business Coalition, GMID began as way to shine a light on the meeting industry’s value and it’s enormous global economic impact – 2.53 trillion to be exact. GMID brings together meetings and events industry professionals from over forty countries to participate in an international day of meetings advocacy.
While the global impact of in-person meetings is clearly substantial, what value do they hold for individuals? Apparently quite a bit. According to Paul Axtell, corporate trainer and author of the book “Meetings Matter, “In-person meetings provide a sense of intimacy, connection and empathy that is difficult to replicate via video.”
Axtell is not clearly not alone in recognizing the value in face-to-face meetings. Eight in ten executives prefer in-person meetings to virtual contact, stating that they create space for business decisions and boost complex strategic thinking. Additionally, MIT’s Human Dynamics Lab tracked performance drivers across industries by collecting data from electronic badges that covered everything from tone of voice to body language. The results? The most valuable communication is done in-person, and that a team’s performance was directly influenced by the number of times team members actually spoke face-to-face.
The case for in-person meetings in a tech driven world
Regardless of how tech-savvy our world has become, face-to-face meetings are the most effective way to build connections, develop relationships and drive collaboration. No amount of technology can replace the power of human interaction and communication.
Face-to-face meetings provide a space for connection and bonding. This experience naturally encourages trust and empathy, two key factors of any successful business relationship. While virtual meetings allow people to share a connection with one another, the lack of face-to-face places limits on the amount of connection that can be shared.
You’ve heard it said that laughter is contagious likewise emotions are contagious whether they be positive or negative. This is because emotion is energy and energy spreads from person to person. The process is called ‘emotional contagion’ meaning that people in a group mutually influence each other. Virtual meetings simply do not offer the same emotional impact or networking opportunities or the valuable after-meeting social gatherings that face-to-face meetings do.
Building trust through in-person events
The business world places a high emphasis these networking opportunities and after meeting gatherings and with good reason. If business is about sales and sales is about relationships, then the only way to truly develop a connection, understand and get to know a client or potential client is through face-to-face interaction and socialization.
Managing a successful business and a successful team requires personal connections. Which is why leadership will often plan management retreats, and company outings. Those corporate trips and fun experiences are not just frivolous get aways, they are strategic in nature because good leadership understands the importance and value of face-to-face interactions whether it be externally with prospects or internally amongst the team.
Companies are realizing what science has proved all along — that humans are social creatures and communication and connection is far more successful when face-to face. In the words of Apple CEO Tim Cook, “For all of the beauty of technology and all the things we’ve helped facilitate over the years, nothing yet replaces human interaction.”
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