The pandemic has sparked so much debate about the psychological impacts of living, working and learning remotely versus in person. In our line of work, we get to observe the alchemy of human interaction in all its forms. And we’re coming to realise nothing quite beats being face-to-face.
What really happens when we meet up in person?
Humans have a primitive psychological desire to be part of a larger collective. Even if we’re not fully aware of it. As a result, there’s something unpindownably special about being together that has a positive impact on our emotional wellbeing. Sharing experiences gives us a powerful sense of connection that it’s tough for the virtual world to match.
Meeting face-to-face builds better relationships
When the face you’re talking to is real, not squished into an onscreen grid of thumbnails, the interaction is very different. Creating time and space for informal small talk between colleagues or clients can make the difference between simply meeting and genuinely connecting. It’s exactly what we helped our client QueryClick to achieve at a long-awaited meeting in summer 2021.
Reboot your thinking
If you’ve ever worried about Microsoft Teams becoming your BFF (Best Friend Forever) because you spend SO much time together, you’re not alone. That’s why it’s worth trying different meeting formats (when it’s safe to do so) as a way of refocusing and re-energising a team or client relationship.
Everyone was thankful for the opportunity to get together. The smooth facilitation of the event played into that, as it gave us ample time to spend with clients.
Informal small talk between colleagues or clients can make the difference between simply meeting and genuinely connecting
> Need advice on running safe live events? Try our Integrity Care service
What does this mean for business?
Believe it or not, people communicate most of their feelings and attitudes via non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions, gestures and posture. It’s about much more than what they say and their tone of voice.
When we receive these signals in person, we tend to decode them automatically. Which makes it much easier to understand each other’s message, discuss things naturally and explore ideas together. In virtual meetups, many of these vital communication methods go unnoticed. What could you be missing?
Now more than ever perhaps, it’s vital to find ways and places for attendees to safely spend time together, to chat, linger and get the chance to click with each other. The Integrity team is a dab hand at this, scrutinising event spaces for comfy spots to share refreshments and encourage conversation.
But how do we really feel about meeting in person again?
Perhaps a little nervous? It’s complicated. Even if you miss lunching with co-workers or client meetings in the office, an undeniable part of you has adapted to the comforts and emotional ease of working from home, effectively in isolation.
Feeling hesitant or unsure about live meetings is completely fine, especially given the limited social contact (personal and professional) we’ve all experienced since early 2020. These feelings are normal – and most likely shared by some colleagues or those clients you want to meet.
The good news? We already know we can adapt
One guest at the event – a client of QueryClick – was delighted at finally being able to meet the QC team. Not only that: as a new member of their own organisation, this event provided the first opportunity for them to meet some of their own colleagues.
Because we can adjust to new conditions. We know this because we’ve done it before, in ingenious ways our pre-pandemic selves could hardly have imagined. And this time we’re resuming a way of living we already know. Like we said, good news!
Self-awareness makes us and our businesses stronger
As we return to building relationships face to face, we need to remember that what feels okay for one person might feel like a huge step for someone else. Kindness and compassion come to the fore.
But let’s not miss out on valuable opportunities to do one of the things humans do best: be together.
Feeling hesitant or unsure about live meetings is completely fine especially given the limited social contact we’ve all experienced since early 2020.