“Now everyone can work from home!”, “So many businesses are moving fully online”, “You don’t even have to leave the house to learn at a conference.”
These are all statements you’ve probably heard since the global pandemic changed the way we work and play and forced massive shifts in many industries – including events and tourism. While it’s true online and hybrid events kept our industry forging ahead when meeting together was difficult (or sometimes impossible), I am ready for the comeback of in person events.
As a conference planner I understand the convenience of things running online, for both organisers and delegates, but personally I love face-to-face events and can’t wait for more of them.
What makes in-person events so much better?
A Hungarian native, English is my second language. Even though I have lived and worked in Australia for a long time now, communicating online can still be hard work. My accent is difficult for people to interpret on a patchy Zoom connection and their tone is hard to read. In-person events afford face-to-face conversations where non-verbal communication comes into play, making it much easier to interpret meaning and for people to understand my accent!
Help to network and connect
Being behind a screen and trying to network – it’s just not the same! Especially for those of us who are more reserved and find sharing in groups difficult. In-person events however make it easier to do ‘get to know you’ and networking activities or just to find topics of conversation. Sitting next to someone, standing in the food line or being a part of an activity all provide opportunities for connection and networking.
Better learning and information sharing
When you attend an online conference, you get to attend from the comfort of your home – yay! But – you also attend with your dog barking, kids coming in and asking questions, neighbours mowing the lawn and you jumping up to just put on a load of washing or feed the cat. In-person events create a great environment for learning not only from the talks but from discussions from others. Plus, when lots of people are together they all get to share in mutual wisdom, as creativity, ideas and motivation are experienced and discussed in a central place.
So what do you think? It’s time to get back to in-person events as safely as we can.