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The long period of personal isolation that started with COVID-19 has brought to light the importance of human connection.  The same social distancing that protected us has for months also left us lonelier, less connected, and missing the in-person connection humans crave.

It’s been three years since the pandemic began and we’ve made significant improvements in science and event safety. We now gather together as we did before, and perhaps appreciate even more the ability to socialize.

A year ago, in a survey by PCMA, 72% of attendees stated attending an in-person event was worth all the safety protocols and personal protective equipment necessary. One respondent event wrote, “Done with virtual events. Bring back live events.” And we’ve never looked back.

Attendees and planners alike can agree there is nothing quite like face-to-face connection and the magic of attending a live event. After all, in-person connection leads to so much more. Now, with 2023 Northwest Event Show right around the corner, we’re sharing some fascinating reasons why in-person connections are so powerful. 

in-person connection human nature

1. It’s Human Nature 

As humans, we’re wired to connect. According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, love and belonging are the most critical needs outside of physiological and safety needs. The need for love and belonging includes friendship, trust, and acceptance. All of these connections are easier to find when connecting in person. Our overall health and quality of life improve when we meet this need. 

2. In-Person Leads to Better Communication

Did you know that 55% of communication is in the form of body language, 38% is your tone of voice, and only 7% is in the form of written words? With those statistics in mind, it’s not surprising that so many emails and text messages get misinterpreted. There are none of the vital cues you would immediately pick up on if you were communicating in-person. 

For example, if you’re talking to someone through email, you’ll miss their tone of voice. Even on a video call, it’s possible to miss body language cues. In-person connections allow for better communication because you can better read body language and tone of voice face-to-face. Better communication helps create strong relationships, partnerships, and more. 

3. Face-To-Face Connection is Better For Well-Being 

We now know that all the protocols and precautions we put in place to combat COVID-19 also adversely impacted peoples’ well-being.

It’s much harder to connect online and isolation magnifies feelings of loneliness and other negative side effects. Back in 2020, a study with 435 U.S. adults found that those who distanced themselves from others, early on, reported increased stress, depression, and anxiety. As noted earlier, socialization is a basic human need, and social distancing interferes with that, ultimately affecting our mental health. While virtual events did some of the work, bridging the gap created by the pandemic,  and creating a safe place for digital connection, many event attendees reported it was harder to connect and engage with others online.

in-person connection engaging experiences

4. Fewer Distractions Make For Engaging Experiences 

Let’s be honest: when was the last time you were fully attentive during an online event? If you can’t think of a time, you’re not alone. 

When you tune in from home or work, you have a myriad of competing distractions. Often, you’ll find yourself multi-tasking during the event: checking emails, throwing in a load of laundry, or grabbing your kids some lunch. These distractions make it much harder to absorb the valuable learnings from sessions, and might also prevent you from connecting with other attendees. 

It’s less likely you’ll be as distracted by outside sources when you’re onsite at an event. When you are in-person, it’s easier to focus on what is there in front of you. As a result, you’re more likely to stay in the moment, soaking in everything around you, reconnecting with colleagues, and even sparking new connections. 

5. People Agree More to In-Person Requests 

If you’ve been in business during the pandemic, you know it can be hard to close a deal or start a partnership online. In-person connections make it easier to get a deal closed. In fact, face-to-face requests were 34 times more effective than emailed ones. It makes sense: in person, you have fewer distractions, plus you have the ability to pick up on body language and tone of voice, which helps you to understand the perfect time to ask for a meeting, or closing a business deal. 

in-person connection - build real relationships

6. More Opportunities for Building Real Relationships 

68.8% of event organizers believe it’s more challenging to provide networking opportunities at virtual events. While digital networking is difficult, the opportunities to build authentic relationships are abundant in person.

At an in-person event, you may find yourself serendipitously bumping into someone in line, or starting up a conversation with the person next to you as you wait for a session to start. That conversation might be the start of a long friendship or business relationship. Plus, there are opportunities to connect organically at events like welcome receptions and after-parties. 

Conclusion: In-Person Connection Leads to So Much More 

As you can see, in-person connection holds great power and can positively impact our overall health and well-being. We are wired to connect, and belonging is a basic need. We are social creatures. It’s in our DNA. Face-to-face connections allow us to better communicate with one another, more effectively build relationships, and even close business deals. And with that, it’s no wonder why in-person connection leads to so much more! 

Ready to re-connect, re-invest, and re-ignite again? Join us March 15-16, 2023, at the Northwest Event

Show. Get your tickets here!