Whilst technology plays an important role when it comes to enabling communication, in-person networking is still the foundation of knowledge sharing, collaboration and innovation in the meetings space.
Virtual conferences, online seminars and daily Zoom calls with our colleagues have been fundamental in staying connected in the current environment. But while we’ve seen exponential growth in digital tools and platforms to make this possible, face-to-face meetings remain catalytic to the kinds of conversations and collisions that spark future innovation.
Meetings make things happen
For businesses, meetings are integral to opening up new markets and attracting investments. In a global study, Harvard Business Review surveyed 2,300 of their subscribers to discover attitudes around face-to-face meetings. More than three-quarters of participants agreed that in-person meetings were the most effective way to meet new clients and promote their business, while 89% said that face-to-face communication was essential in “sealing the deal”.
“Every business around the world has no doubt found new ways to communicate using digital tools at this time, but technology will never replace the authenticity of meeting face to face,” says BESydney CEO Lyn Lewis-Smith.
The corporate and academic worlds place a high value on conferences, events and exhibitions to set agendas, gain feedback from peers and experts, share ideas and build relationships, which can then lead to new clients or partnerships down the track, or grant and research collaborations.
Fostering meaningful connections
Face-to-face meetings are invaluable vehicles to profile expertise, share knowledge, and create and strengthen collaboration. In fact, 95% of those surveyed by the Harvard Business Review believed that meeting in person was key to successfully maintaining and building long-term relationships.
The collective effervesce shared between colleagues and academics across a table isn’t replicable over a screen or chat window, and body language is an important factor. There are a whole range of non-verbal cues, from eye contact to hand gestures and body posture, that contribute to the deeper connections so necessary for building trust to progress a business deal or enter a new collaboration.
“This leapfrog in technology adoption will change the face of business meetings forever, and eventually, for the better, when we can all meet physically and share experiences in a single destination once again,” explains.