The global value of face-to-face meetings

Expert Opinion

In a recent study conducted by IMEX and Meetology Group*, psychologists have once again proven the benefits of face-to-face meetings. Specifically, they generate more ideas, of which are a great variety and are considered to be more creative. Meeting planners and event planners can rejoice! Well done IMEX on running this research; it’s a shame we need to keep proving it but it’s always good to have another study to support what we already know to be true. Bringing people together in person is the single most effective way to communicate. And the benefits are not just limited to idea generation. I can’t even quote the number of studies I’ve seen over the past 10 years that have gone to prove this very fact. However, one does spring to mind….

A Yougov study** conducted in the UK found that 85 per cent of people felt significantly more committed to company goals and objectives when they had face-to-face meetings with their line managers about those goals, rather than simply receiving an email or newsletter to read. The motivation levels were significantly raised and staff actually reported to feel inspired when they spent time with their line managers and other executives face-to-face. Motivation and commitment are both major factors in a person’s ability to achieve success for their organization, no matter what their job role.

Companies that lose sight of the value of getting people together, lose sight of the value of their business. We are human beings. By the very nature of that fact we need to communicate with each other, not just verbally but using all our senses. There is so much to be gained by simply observing body language, making eye contact, and making a connection with another person that simply cannot be done until you are in front of that person.  And this is something universal, that can be understood on a global level. How often have you met with someone after months of speaking on the phone and upon meeting the connection just clicks? And what do we all say – “It’s so great to finally put a face to the name!” The fact is, we like meeting each other and it’s good for business.

The benefits to business and importance of having the right meeting management software are proven time over and not only with internal meetings but also with external, customer-facing opportunities. Whether it’s communicating messages, brainstorming ideas, sharing results or other customer-facing opportunities, putting someone in front of another person is the single most efficient way to get the message across by listening and learning from each other. From customers providing valuable feedback to colleagues giving a different perspective, we all learn when we share. We share best when barriers are broken down between us, when we face that person, in person.

Thankfully we still live in a world where we can meet to do business. And thankfully my company, ACTIVE Network, still believes in the value of a handshake. How sad would it become when we can no longer meet our colleagues and customers in person, look them in the eye, and share experiences. I certainly wouldn’t want to be a part of that world, would you?

* The Meetology® Laboratory Behavioural Research Results, 2012

** The YouGov Employee Engagement Study, 2010

– Izania Downie, Active Network Director of Strategic Partnerships. Any comments? Email

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