People have been gathering since the beginning of time. As social beings, we crave interaction with others. Major life events from birthdays to graduations to weddings are celebrated with others in gatherings large and small. We find joy in connecting with others through shared interests or experiences. Those connections can and often do lead to innovation, new ideas and processes.
Prior to COVID-19 meetings and events were understood to have inherent value. As the pandemic progressed and it became apparent that virtual meetings would have to suffice, and we all began to again ask the question, why do we meet? Can virtual meetings create a similar environment and allow the same types of connections and drive innovation and growth as in-person meetings? The answer, I think we can agree, is somewhat more complicated.
After a year of social distancing and virtual meetings, most attendees are ready to return to in-person, as “Zoom fatigue” has set in. However, there are sometimes when a virtual meeting or a hybrid meeting could be the right solution. In her book, The Art of Gathering, author Priya Parker discusses the need to ask “why” for every type of gathering, from business conferences to dinner with friends. Answering the “why”, drives the “how” we meet and helps focus the intentions to achieve the ideal outcome.
In a case when the “why” is strictly to convey information with little or no Q&A, a virtual meeting can work well as the “how.” A hybrid meeting can also be used in this case allowing a presenter to speak to groups gathered in various locations to allow smaller in-person group discussions. Because of this, we believe there will always be a place for some virtual meetings.
When the “why” includes networking, panel discussions, community service and celebration of achievements, the “how” is likely best as an in-person gathering which provides greater opportunity for discussion, recognition, and celebration. Shared in-person experiences create memories which can drive a company culture.
Whether your “why” calls for virtual, hybrid or fully in-person, TRG has the experience and knowledge to help you achieve the best outcome and attendee satisfaction. Be the hero of your next meeting!