25 per cent more revenue expected via in-person meetings

In-person meetings expected to deliver more revenue

[Credit: Amy Hirschi on Unsplash]

EU: Research from Accor has revealed that employees expect to make an average of 23 per cent more deals a year when attending face-to-face meetings.

Accor commissioned a study with OnePoll among 2000 employees working from home during the pandemic. These workers think that one face-to-face meeting has the equivalent impact of roughly three video calls.

Close to one-third (30 per cent) said they found it difficult not being able to see another person’s body language and nonverbal cues, Additionally, a further 22 per cent said they find it hard to engage in small talk to form personal relationships.

A fifth found conversation too formal through technological channels to build a bond, and one in twelve commented that the alcohol involved in client entertainment helped create bonds and break down barriers.

When asked what challenges were faced when using technology, the most common answer was having issues such as bad quality or dropping out of video conferences (37 per cent). 

“With the return of face-to-face meetings in touching distance we are able to recognise, now, more than, ever their importance,” said Sophie Hulgard, SVP of sales at Accor for Northern Europe. “The loss of face-to-face business in the last year has demonstrated its emotional and financial value. The findings of the research are compelling – a potential 25 per cent revenue gain by meeting face to face will be worth millions, potentially more, to the domestic and global economy. The psychological learnings of the past year are also crucial – people need to connect and technology can take us around the world and bring people together but in doing so it can miss the nonverbal cues that only face-to-face can see.

“Digital solutions in business are here to stay but there will always be a need to meet face-to-face to get the deal done,” she added. “Technology is a powerful tool but it will never replace the importance of the human touch in business. The results of our research, in the digital age we live in, underline the hybrid trend that we expect to be an enduring legacy of the pandemic – digital is powerful, face-to-face is valuable.”

Hulgard has made four trend predictions expected to shape meetings in 2021 and beyond:

Hybrid meetings – combining virtual and physical in-person participation across multiple locations.

Closing meetings – face-to-face closing meetings will surge in the second half of 2021 as foundations built digitally come to fruition.

Culture meetings – the notion of “culture meetings” will transcend into normal business. After a year or more of separation, people will come back together to build teams and culture.

Leadership meetings – small meetings will be big over the short term – boards getting back together, leadership teams meeting up. The need to connect will be strong and businesses will gravitate towards each other to reconnect in person.

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