in person events are making a comeback

5 reasons why in person events are making a comeback

June 29, 2022 3:13 pm

When my grandmother asked me where I worked and I replied, ‘mostly from home’, she did not understand how this could be possible. Rewind 10 years and the concept of working from home would not have entered the mind of anyone. Then the pandemic hit. At first, it was great – slide out of bed 10 minutes before your first meeting, no arduous commute, shirt and shorts, peace and quiet. However, over 2 years later and for a lot of people, this is not working anymore.

Now, people are hungry to socialise, collaborate and network. Face to face and in person events are becoming much more common again, as well as working in the office. But why is there a sudden resurgence in face to face events? Here we take a look at 5 of the reasons why in person events are making a comeback.

Human nature

When you strip it back to basics, we are innately social beings, we thrive off of social interaction and struggle with detachment. We are drawn to like-minded individuals and naturally enjoy spending time with and learning from them. Although you can talk with others virtually, you and they are not totally present in the moment. When you are face to face and totally present with one another you are best placed to collaborate effectively.

Research proves that people feel happier when interacting with others and that happy people interact more with others. Essentially, we want to go back to in person events because they make us happy. Being isolated at home, with our only social interaction virtual, has not helped our happiness. We have seen this to be true by the increase of bookings and clientele that we have welcomed onsite at Roffey Park in recent months.

Connecting and building trust

Relationships, business or personal, are built on communication and trust. It is possible to build trust virtually but it is quicker and easier to do so face to face. People are more likely to trust another person when they feel trusted by that person and this exchange can be difficult online.

Building connections and networking is only really possible in person, so it is easy to see why business events and conferences have not struggled with numbers. I attended the Diamond Experts Market Place event at Roffey Park in June which saw hundreds of people and a number of organisations attend. Evidently, people want to build interpersonal connections and are best placed to do so face to face.

Environment to grow

Let’s face it, an online meeting can be awkward, boring and sometimes troublesome. You want to say something but are not sure when the right moment to speak is, or the connection is weak and the speaker is breaking up, it just isn’t great. And this is ok, it is not natural for us to meet like this. Drawing on point 1, we thrive off meeting in person. When people are together we get to challenge ourselves with bright minds, thought-provoking questions and new topics. An in person meeting space is a much more effective space to collaborate freely.

I have experienced this myself. Joining a new team during lockdown posed difficulties. It was hard to really get to know my colleagues on a personal level. For example, if I wanted to know how to do something I felt tentative to call and ask for help, I felt gawky. Fast forward to the present day and after meeting many times face to face I am totally comfortable with them. A virtual environment can hinder personal growth but a face to face environment can encourage you to flourish.

People enjoy in person events

Ultimately, people enjoy getting out, socialising and seeing old and new faces. This ties in with point one and how we feel happier when interacting with others. We feel demoralised if we have little to look forward to. Knowing you are attending a business event with many like-minded individuals, with a chance to network and learn, whilst at a lovely venue with complimentary lunch is exciting.

Most of us have spent the best part of 2 years at home, in relative isolation with little to no face to face contact. If there is any one reason why in person events are becoming more popular it’s because people want them to, they enjoy them. We have seen this first-hand in recent times with the overwhelming amount of positive feedback that we have received from our face to face programmes and events.

Space for opportunity

One of the pros to face to face networking is the unexpected opportunities that can come from it. Whether that be new clients, job progression, learning or general business opportunities, connecting face to face offers much more than online. For example, you grab a drink at the bar after a conference and the next thing you know you’re an hour deep in conversation with someone from an organisation that then becomes your next client.

An opportunity like this would be impossible online. Sometimes it is the most relaxed and unpredictable conversations that bear the most fruit and you simply do not have this over a zoom call. I feel I have learnt more from general chit-chat amongst colleagues in person than I have from formal meetings online. Opportunities present themselves to you when you put yourself out there and it is much easier to do so at in person events.

I don’t think we will ever get back to 5 days a week in an office and I believe that zoom meetings and conferences will continue, they do have their benefits. A hybrid model of in-office and at home does work but it is telling that the demand for face to face events is there, in some ways more than ever. At Roffey Park Institute, being an organisation that thrives off collaboration and clientele on-site, the pandemic hit hard. But we bounced back in admirable fashion and recently have been considerably enjoying the return of face to face events, so much so that we are breaking pre-covid figures.

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