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Do Social Technologies Add Value to Face2Face Meetings?

Yesterday, HSMAI Affordable Meetings(R) National and Event Technology Expo(TM) released the results of a survey that found that technology cannot replace the value of face to face meetings. (Read Article)

The press release identified six elements of the conference experience that meeting professionals felt were unable to be replaced by technology:

  1. Socializing and networking spontaneously
  2. Helping attendees best put names with faces
  3. Allowing more free and open dialogue between attendees and vendors/presenters
  4. Training effectively via live and personal interaction
  5. Paying greater attention to others when face-to-face
  6. Engaging in real-time conversation that is not interrupted by technical glitches.

Does Tech Add Value?

My Thoughts

While I agree that technology will not replace the face to face events, I would argue that interactive and social technologies are improving and enhancing face2face meetings. Here are two examples:

Social Networking Solutions: Social networking solutions help participants answer the questions: Who else is at the event? Who are the like-minded people that I should meet? and what do they look like? Based on my experience, these tools helped me put a name with a face and maximize my limited networking time.

Speaker Q&A Texting Solutions: In a typical 10 minute Q&A session, the speaker can answer 3-4 questions via the microphone. When I have used Q&A texting solutions as a speaker, I have been able to answer 8-10 questions in the same 10 minute time block.

What do you think?

Do you think social and interactive technologies add value to face2face events? Do you think social and interactive technologies add value to the 6 elements listed above? I am interested to get your point of view.

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. busyevent #

    Hi Samuel:

    Insightful as always.

    Our core message for going on 2 years has been that face-to-face meetings matter and that the appropriate and considered use of technology can enhance that significantly.

    What we’re beginning to see now is that, much like a televised football game, some people like to attend an event in person and others like to attend it virtually.

    The use of tools that can serve both audiences will become vitally important as events become more than face-to-face and turn into ‘happenings’ centered on people, products and content.

    September 2, 2009
    • Hi BusyEvent,

      You make three great points: (1) Technology use must be appropriate. (2) Technology is allowing participants to engage with the content and the event experience in different ways. (3) As technology evolves – so will event experiences and formats.

      Also, I love the football analogy! If I use that in an upcoming post – I will give you credit!

      – Sam

      September 2, 2009

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