In today’s social media-focused economy, it’s become increasingly common to have long, complex and lasting business relationships with other people without ever speaking to them in person—or even on the phone. More of the average business’s sales support, customer service and other customer-facing functions are moving to the Web instead of being handled in person. And with cost-cutting foremost on everyone’s mind, conventions, conferences and meetings are all going virtual, too.
In this environment, you might suppose that there’s no longer much need to meet face to face. Well, you’d be wrong. The white paper from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and sales and marketing services company Maritz analyzed scientific research and found in-person events are better than virtual events at capturing attendees’ attention, creating positive emotions and building relationships and networks.
“The Future of Meetings: The Case for Face-to-Face” aims to help companies planning events use scientific criteria to figure out when a virtual approach, an in-person approach or a combination of the two is called for. The researchers found that face-to-face works best in three situations:
This study focused on large events and meetings, since the organizations involved were meeting-related. However, I believe the same applies to every meeting—even just between two people. You can email, tweet and even talk on the phone all you want, but there’s no substitute for the kind of energy and connection that happens when you actually get together with a colleague or customer in person.
That’s why, no matter how busy I get, I always make time for face-to-face meetings. In my experience, they’re invaluable for building relationships that last—and that help grow your business.