New research, revealed by Loughborough University and its conferencing arm imago, demonstrates again the value of face to face and the meetings industry’s long term place in the commercial world.
The research, conducted in conjunction with The Right Solution, measured the value of face to face communication among a sample of more than 750 event organisers, delegates and students.
“Including students in the research, particularly those on courses such as Loughborough University’s MBA, gives an insight into the minds of future leaders, event delegates and organisers,” said imago’s head of sales and marketing, Emma Boynton.
Key findings from the research included:
· 96.6% of meetings attendees cited small face to face meetings of fewer than 10 participants as their favoured form of communication.
· 75.5% of students back up delegate preferences for smaller meetings with a preference for tutorials rather than lectures.
· Group interaction and discussion is considered the top benefit of face to face communications by 78.4% of delegates and 69.4% of students.
· On a scale of 0 to 100, delegates ranked engagement during face to face meetings at an average of 85%, with students at 73%.
· An interactive format as a tool to retain information was most favoured by both delegates (81%) and students (72.1%).
· Use of social media was least favoured by both delegates (15.9%) and students (21.7%).
· The increasingly common informal ‘co-creation’ of content also scored poorly – delegates (52.4%) and students (43.8%)
“This data is incredibly important and great news for the industry,” Boynton added.
“Support for smaller meetings was of particular interest. With only 3.4% of delegates expressing a preference for large meetings it is clear that organisers need to ensure that breakout and group interaction sessions are given as much, if not more attention than plenaries in the planning of large events.”
The research also examined the venue research and booking process and highlighted the fact that 85% of organisers considered it important for a venue to have the latest technology before making a booking, yet words relating to technology were not mentioned at all by delegates when asked what environment ensures a successful meeting. Instead 45% of responses focused on light, bright or natural daylight.
“Data such as the negative feeling towards social media and informal content were interesting to see amongst future leaders and students, who you would expect to be supporters,” said Boynton, who added that the research showed, above all, “that people want to talk to people and technology is a tool rather than the end goal”.