Who has pushed digitisation in your company? The CEO, the CTO or the Corona Virus? This slogan has been circulating on various social networks for several weeks now. And no doubt platforms like Zoom, Webinarjam and Jitsi - to name just a few - are experiencing extreme growth. It's also true that many people are getting used to holding certain meetings online, whether from home, in the park or in the office. But does this also mean the end of physical meetings?
The simple answer is "no". Online meeting platforms should in many cases be seen as a complement rather than a substitute. I am convinced that even in times of more frequent online meetings, on-site gatherings will not lose importance. On the contrary. The more online, the greater the need again for physical meetings.
Yes, you can discuss many things in a video conference. You can also work together online on a document or presentation and then discuss it again online.
However, face-to-face - even if at a distance of 1-2 meters - cannot be replaced by an online platform. To actually "feel" the other person and see the whole body language and facial expressions, that is very difficult to do online. Especially when you have to guess the person opposite you in the deep shadow of the home office lighting. In a physical meeting on site, concentration and focus on the topic are most likely better than online. When standing in front of a flipchart, you can't just click away or pretend to be interested while you're actually studying the lunch recipe in another browser window.
The combination of online/offline as an icebreaker
In a new event reality influenced by Corona, both can and must have their place. No doubt the combination of online and offline will tremendously enrich our event world.
Example workshop: the preparation for a workshop took place mostly online even before Corona, e.g. by emailing questions, surveys or projects to the workshop participants. Today, this can be perfectly complemented with a first discussion via video conference to clarify basic questions in a direct exchange before the physical meeting and without having to send 20 emails back and forth. We also often experience that the level of knowledge of a topic varies greatly among participants which is not conducive to the overall quality of the workshop. With video meetings before the workshop this level of knowledge can be better balanced.
This will for a more effective workshop where one can immediately get fully involved in the topic on site. And: Participants who did not know each other before will probably enter the actual workshop more relaxed, because they already met each other, the ice is broken and there is a certain trust among each other.
After the "on-site session", the participants then return to the videoconference, either all together or in smaller groups, in order to continue work on pending topics. This can lead to additional discussions, the network remains more active and lively and the exchange of ideas has a more lasting effect. win-win.
Speaking of video conferencing: here, too, we all still have to learn what it means to take part in a video conference and make the best possible impression. Fabian Koch of interpunkt. communication agency explains how this can be achieved with little effort:
*English captions can be activated in the video's setting
With this in mind, I encourage everyone who is involved in any form of event to see this new event reality as an opportunity. There is a lot of potential in the combination of online and offline and I am already looking forward to breaking new event ground together with our customers.
Reto Leder, ceo
Trafo Baden │ Congress. Hotels. Catering.