Does the future have room for face to face communication?

The Right Solution have worked with Imago and Loughborough University to research and examine the favoured forms of communication for learning new skills, retaining important information and aiding business success with particular insight into the preferences of tomorrow’s business leaders.

A total of 779 respondents made up of conference and meeting organisers, conference and meeting attendees, undergraduate and post graduate students academics and lecturers participated in focus groups, telephone, online and face to face interviews.

Students , delegates and organisers all agreed that they gain more value from face to face learning than conference calls, emails and other forms of communication. Face to face is preferred as it enables you to read facial expressions, interact with people and test understanding.  Face to face results in better engagement and better understanding.

Key findings from the research include:

·         97% of meetings attendees cited small face to face meetings of fewer than 10 participants as their favoured form of communication.

·         81%% 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%)

Support for smaller meetings is 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 examines the venue research and booking process and highlights the fact that 85% of organisers consider 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.

The research endorses the view that people buy from people and face to face communication contributes to business productivity and profitability.


Download the report here:

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