Face-to-face why it’s important to connect in person

The business world was turned upside down in 2020.

As Coronavirus swept across the nation and lockdowns followed, directors had to come up with different ways of building relationships with colleagues and customers.

If nothing else, one positive that emerged from the pandemic was that we all quickly became well-versed in using virtual meeting platforms such as Teams and Zoom (while cutting down on travel).

Virtual meetings are here to stay but, as the business world opens again, the need for face-to-face interaction and human engagement has returned.

Whether it’s meetings, conferences or awards, there is nothing that can replace the experience of attending a live event. While virtual meetings can be useful for discussing a set issue or pre-determined agenda, face-to-face meetings enable you to better connect and understand people on a personal level, leading to better quality discussions and collaborative relationships.

Now, with the worst of Covid hopefully behind us, we are seeing demand increase for in-person events, as people seek opportunities to come out from behind their screens and develop meaningful relationships. Whether it’s a focused round table discussion, relaxed networking over early evening drinks or a ‘netwalk’ in the countryside, live events are back.

Here are five top tips for getting the most out of live events.

  • Research – Before the event, take time to understand the theme and prepare your thoughts so that you have interesting points to discuss with guests. If available, research the delegate list to understand who’s who and prepare to have more meaningful, relevant conversations.
  • Learning – Choose subjects that interest you or will develop your skills and knowledge. Attend with an open mind and prepare to have your views challenged.
  • Expectation – Don’t expect an instant return. Play the long game. Prepare to make useful connections but don’t expect them to pay off in a business sense immediately. Think about how you can develop long-term relationships by asking open questions and helping others achieve their goals before expecting help with your own.
  • Charity and community – Not all events have a set agenda. Some take you out of your business space entirely. Try charity events (eg. behind-the-scenes trips to a local hospice or animal sanctuary) or those that simply involve a walk in the countryside.
  • Follow up – engage with the event organiser and fellow attendees by email or social media and keep the conversations going.

Connecting with fellow directors is one of the key benefits of IoD membership as we share best practice, learn from each other and collaborate. Book upcoming events and courses on our events page.

Better directors for a better world

The IoD supports directors and business leaders across the UK and beyond to learn, network and build successful, responsible businesses.
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