In a recent piece of research regarding the future of the events industry, we were interested to note the importance being placed on small, interactive and face-to-face encounters. In fact, Loughborough University has found that a huge majority (96.6%) of the 750 event organisers, delegates and students questioned felt that small meetings and interactive, face-to-face activities were very important.
The research was conducted between Loughborough University, imago (the conferencing arm of the university), and The Right Solution. Small meetings were specified as those with ten or fewer individuals present.
It was also found that 85% of respondents felt engagement in small meetings was more effective than in other set-ups; only 3.4% of delegates said they preferred large meetings to small ones.
Other findings included the fact that delegates and students found interactive meetings to be the most favourable method for retaining information - cited by 81% and 72.1% of respondents respectively.
Face-to-face meetings were also classed as very important in harbouring group interaction and discussion, both of which were considered beneficial to meetings success by 78.4% of delegates and 69.4% of students.
These figures – all published on the Conference News website - are “incredibly important and great news for the [events] industry”, Emma Boynton – the head of sales and marketing for imago - said.
She noted how the support for smaller meeting formats was particularly interesting, stating that “it is clear that organisers need to ensure that breakout and group interaction sessions are given as much, if not more attention than plenaries in the planning of large events.”
It was also interesting to note that social media and co-created content did not receive positive reviews by respondents. It seems that “people want to talk to people and technology is a tool rather than the end goal.”
What do you make of these results? Are you surprised at how smaller, face-to-face meetings and events are supposedly more popular than larger, more tech-dominated ones?