Today’s business landscape often relies heavily on Slack messages and Skype calls for meetings and such. It did not used to be this way, though. In fact, face-to-face meetings were not too long ago the top option when people needed to communicate and discuss ideas with one another.
With technological developments and the need to provide immediate response and results, however, more convenient types of communication have become popular. Now, companies can host virtual meetings and some employees don’t even have to report to actual office buildings to do their work. As a result, face-to-face meetings have gotten pushed to the side in preference of virtual ones.
Unfortunately, this prioritization of speed and convenience over real-life interaction has led to the underestimation of the power of face-to-face communication.
Communication, Trust, and Body Language
For a business to thrive, clear and constant communication matters. Without solid communication systems and relationships, it may be hard to meet deadlines. As a result, you’ll notice that unmet deadlines, dissatisfied clients, and other concerns have become chronic issues. Poor communication could be the root of these problems.
Since communication is not only conveyed through words but also through actions, it pays to meet face-to-face in conference rooms in West Palm Beach. Hand gestures, subtle shifts in movement, and eye contact—these are vital in truly understanding the person you’re communicating with.
Face-to-face meetings are also a great way to build trust between you and your business partners, employees, or clients. In actual meetings, it’s easier to develop trust when those involved can read each other’s body language. When a person sees who they’re talking to, it makes them more receptive to the exchange of ideas and trust, something that can be difficult to establish through phone calls or e-mails.
What’s more, you’re likely to gain the respect and appreciation of the people you’re doing business with by making the time and effort to dress up and physically meet with them. It shows them that you’re hands-on and that you like to give a personal touch to your dealings. This further helps you create a positive impression on your clients.
The Financial Value of the Meeting Industry
Apart from the intangible benefits of a face-to-face meeting, its value can also be measured by actual figures.
According to the 2016 Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy report by the Events Industry Council and Oxford Economics, meetings across the country generated $325 billion of direct spending. This includes $167 billion to plan and produce meetings, $120 billion for meetings travel, and $38 billion worth of other avenues of direct spending, such as that of exhibitors.
The report states that through meetings, the sector was able to support 2.5 million jobs with $95.6 billion of direct wages. This means that the meeting sector supported more jobs than large manufacturing sectors, including machinery, food, automotive, and chemicals. The meetings sector also sustained more jobs than telecommunications and oil and gas industries and has directly generated $184.2 billion of the country’s GDP.
This data points to the fact that even though it’s more convenient to conduct businesses mostly through a screen, face-to-face meetings are more important than you might have previously thought. By conducting or participating in one, you’re not only getting personal benefits, but you’re also helping the U.S. economy.