Adam Joyce is VP of Acceleration at the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre (CTCC), Canada’s first purpose-built, full-service convention centre and a thriving hub for local, national and international conventions, congresses, meetings and events.
For all of the unquestionable benefits of digitization, there remain a number of areas where in the name of efficiency, we risk losing some humanity. We may be more interconnected than ever before, but the plethora of devices — from desktops to phones, smartwatches and the ever-attentive Alexa — which have infiltrated our daily lives at an unprecedented rate, also mean that real human interactions can be filtered almost beyond recognition.
It’s a concern that a growing number of psychologists, business leaders, and almost every discerning parent will recognize and relate to.
How then can we best harness the most profound benefits the digital age offers without losing our capacity for human empathy, our ability to forge strong relationships and to properly communicate both socially and within business?
The secret is in ensuring there remains some tangible balance between digital and physical interaction and that is why, in business working life, events are an invaluable connection.
So what are the real benefits of being face to face? Here is my top five:
There’s no getting away from it, one of the key benefits of face to face communication is the live feedback translated through body language, voice tone and facial expressions. According to research, more than 90% of communication exists through body language.
Unlike remote forms of communication, face to face interaction means that we can observe reactions and better understand another person’s thoughts or feelings. In business, face to face communication lends itself well to persuasion, displays of leadership and the acknowledgment of shared purpose.
A genuine sense of camaraderie can be best developed through face to face exchanges, which can ultimately make the difference between a working relationship being formal and disposable or personal and loyal.
Taking the time to attend a meeting, event or conference, is an opportunity to show full engagement, that you value what is being said or what a company or organization stands for, and ultimately, that you value the relationship. It also provides an opportunity to ensure your voice is heard by others.
Unlike digital forms of communication, which can suffer from users being distracted in any number of ways, face to face engagement ensures that you share undivided attention which will inevitably help build trust and credibility within a relationship.
Face to face interactions provide an invaluable opportunity to expand a network. Whilst the internet provides seemingly unlimited platforms for this, the events space can lead to unexpected exchanges and possibilities to meet people and businesses, and build strong, long term relationships that might otherwise never have been considered.
Efficiency is a key element to success in business, and gathering everyone together at a meeting, conference or event can be the most efficient way to launch a new product, impart information, share ideas and answer questions. Face to face interaction at scale can boost creativity and lead to strong, cohesive bonds being developed that simply can’t be achieved in the same way remotely. Teams are far more likely to be invested in a project, concept or idea if they’ve learnt about it together, face to face.
We all know that anything written or shared online, including via email, is easily transferred to the public domain. Confidential or sensitive information therefore can be best shared face to face rather than digitally. Also, situations of a delicate nature for example, can be handled sensitively when talking directly to those involved and support, if needed, can be offered instantly.