After all the postponed events that punctuated the pandemic, we’re thrilled to see real, in person events making a comeback. For a while, the future of the events industry looked pretty bleak and many questioned if they would return at all. However, in true human spirit, the people have spoken, and it would seem agreed, that face-to-face cannot be replaced.
Among other high profile events, the National Construction Expo in Milton Keynes returns this week with a packed programme. With satellite events covering topics from Lean construction, to materials innovation, and green and smart technologies, it’s set to be a fascinating day.
As construction professionals, we’re delighted that exhibitions are back in-person. We think that meeting clients, collaborators and suppliers is key to building strong relationships, so we’re looking forward to getting back to face-to-face events. But why is human interaction so important, particularly in a business like construction? Could we not just do everything from the comfort of our home offices? According to psychologists, this is far from the case – here’s why.
Face-to-face is always preferred
According to a study by the Harvard Review, 95% of people say face-to-face meetings are key to building and maintaining long-term business relationships. During the pandemic, a study by communications consultancy APCO Worldwide, reported that 83% of workers in the United States said they missed attending face-to-face meetings and conventions.
Clients and collaborators connections are stronger in person. This is because in someone’s physical presence, you’re better able to read their body language, facial expressions and hand gestures. Things can often be clunky over video call, so face-to-face interactions enable you to properly read the room.
Business experts allege that this natural instinct towards face-to-face is because meeting people in person demonstrates you value both their time and money. If you go to the effort to show up, it shows that you’re committed to meeting their needs and providing the best possible service.
Getting emotional – in the business sense
Showing that you value the client’s time nurtures a more emotional relationship between the two parties. Experts estimate that customers with an emotional attachment to a brand have a Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) three times higher than those that don’t. They’re also 71% more likely to recommend a service or product, which is 26% above the average.
It goes without saying that face-to-face meetings better cultivate the intimacy that leads to a more emotional relationship. Humans are naturally social animals and body language is important to us, particularly eye contact. According to scientific research, people are more likely to trust someone if they make direct eye contact.
A lot is lost on the Zoom screen, with eye contact being the main thing that suffers. We’ve all been there; the speaker is looking at the person’s image on their screen not into their eyes. Considering the importance of eye contact and trust, it’s essential that managers understand that we can’t go 100% virtual all the time.
See you soon?
In a sector as collaborative as construction, building strong relationships is crucial. Productive and trusting working relationships are essential to successful projects, so as far as we’re concerned, it’s a relief to be going back to some good old-fashioned in-person networking. We can’t wait to get back to meeting clients and colleagues from the construction industry at various events scheduled throughout the year and we hope to see you at some of them.
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