Although virtual meeting technology is on the rise, many event professionals believe there are still compelling reasons to meet in person. In a posting on entrepreneur.com, event planning veteran and president of Event Strategy Group Norm Aamodt points out that even though a recent Meeting Professional International survey shows that virtual attendance is projected to grow at twice the rate of live attendance, there are five solid reasons why live, person-to-person meetings are more conducive for business.
Less Distractions. In a virtual meeting, it is easy to become sidetracked. Multitasking participants can be checking email or addressing the needs of a child. Some participate in virtual meetings from their beds, cars, the beach or a swimming pool. Aamodt believes concentration and attention is better at in-person events.
More Commitment. Attendees invest considerable time and money to attend live events, which can motivate and propel them to participate more in breakout sessions, dinners and other networking activities. For companies, there is more opportunity to make a positive impression and drive home brand awareness at in-person events. A live experience also engages multiple senses, as opposed to interaction via a computer or tablet.
Increased Excitement. The human emotion of excitement is contagious. It is easier to build enthusiasm when people interact live, as opposed to digitally.
Improved Networking. In-person events give participants the chance the network and schmooze. Meaningful relationships are fostered, especially when quality time for individuals to interact is built into the program.
Greater Freedom of Expression. When meeting one-on-one, individuals can express themselves more freely. Trust is built because the chance that something might be taken out of context is minimized.
While there are certainly times that it makes sense to meet virtually, firms still value the benefits of one-on-one meetings. In a recent InterCall survey, 85 percent of the respondents cited a preference for physical rather than virtual events. Meeting in person may cost more in terms of time and money, however many organizations still feel it is worthwhile.
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