Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

November 18 2013

See Why Face-To-Face Is More Important Than Ever Before

By David McMillin

Worried about what virtual and hybrid meetings will mean for the future of your face-to-face gatherings? According to new research, you can lay those concerns to rest.

Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts surveyed more than 2,000 men and women in the UK, US, United Arab Emirates, China and India to dig into how the business world perceives face-to-face meetings, and the findings are positive for all meeting professionals. Here’s a look at two key takeaways:

  • 81 percent of business professionals believe face-to-face meetings are better for building long-term trust and ensuring strong client relationships.
  • 47 percent believe they have lost a contract or client because they didn’t make enough in-person time to develop their relationships.

“Although developments in technology allow business men and women to make achievements in meetings that would have been impossible a few years back, meeting face-to-face continues to bring significant benefits that are much harder to obtain through virtual channels,” Hazel Carter-Showell, founder of UK-based business psychology consultancy CarterCorson, says. “One of these benefits is building trust, which research has shown is behind many profitable companies.”

Carter-Showell has seen how trust can transform companies first-hand. Her experience includes working with organizations such as Barclays, HSBC and the Scottish Parliament.

“Trusted companies have higher morale, productivity, lower employee turnover and create deeper relationships with their customers,” Carter-Showell adds.

SEE ALSO: Scientific Proof for the Power of Face-To-Face

Building More Than Trust

Trust translates to something else very important: money. The research estimates that losing those clients and contracts added up to a revenue loss of 24 percent for survey respondents.

“Virtual meetings can save time and money, but there are times when sealing a deal requires a handshake and ‘seeing the whites of the eyes’ of a business associate,” Janis Cannon, global vice president, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, IHG, says.

SEE ALSO: How to Make the Most of Face-To-Face Time

While it’s clear that business professionals recognize the inherent value of establishing in-person connections, the study highlights that more organizations are asking their employees to turn to technology as a substitution. Sixty-three percent of respondents reported that the number of virtual meetings they have attended has increased in the past 5 - 10 years.

These statistics show that planners must take steps to effectively communicate the networking value of their meetings. All new business deals need introductions, and big meetings are the ultimate facilitation points to help attendees meet many potential new business partners.

What have you done to highlight the networking opportunities at your meeting? Share your comments below.

Please log in to post comments.