“After a 2-day workshop in Cheltenham, I wondered why, in this age of video-conferences, blackberries and social networks, do we still subject ourselves to the hassles of traveling including claiming expenses, security checks and time away from our families?” – recalls Carlos Castellon, The Call Card Chronicles.
The answer is simple. From a business perspective, research has demonstrated the benefits of face to face business meetings compared to electronic communication devices with the following 5 competitive advantages:
1. Benchmarking. Going offsite allows us to gauge our company’s performance against others. We can see what they are doing right, what we can improve on and what we should avoid. These things are sometimes evident as soon as we arrive at our destination. If we’re truly serious about improving our situation then we can use external locations as an additional opportunity for reflecting and as a springboard for action. One must also weigh up the costs of using telecommunications against travel costs at the expense of making good business decisions for the long term. Anything that increases efficiency during business meetings increases the effectiveness and performance outcomes for the company.
2. Building stronger business relationships. There’s nothing more worthwhile than being face to face with your clients and colleagues. Seeing the look of genuine approval on their faces when seeing your presentation and ideas makes the trip worthwhile. One of the biggest sales techniques often ignored, at great expense, is missing the opportunity to read your customer’s faces. Recognising hesitations and objections, and preparing yourself with what to expect during the Q&A session is one of the biggest sales tools you will have to closing a deal. Furthermore, you can’t fax a smile or email a handshake – two of the most powerful relationship makers in body language.
3. Inspiring people. There are some things which are best experienced live, like watching a performance, being at a football match or listening to a brilliant guest speaker. Motivational speakers have an art to holding an audience’s interest and communicating important messages through body language and expression. Think about how your audience will remember your key messages by email or web conferencing.
4. Results in breakthrough thinking. Group influences versus individual thinking…it is obvious which has the biggest impact on making quality business decisions. It is also an opportunity to learn about how other people think and work. Our differences may be apparent from the beginning, but we may also be surprised to learn about our similarities. This will make you better equipped for your next visit and when it comes to understanding your client’s needs. Computer-mediated communication may be an efficient and rapid means of disseminating information, but research also suggests that it is not the most effective means of making group decisions….managers must make the decision as whether the cost savings in travel expenses and time outweigh the potential decrements in quality of decisions reached.
Creating More Value for Business Meetings
The Holiday Inn Express Cheltenham Town Centre offers a wide range of professional meeting space for all types of meetings and events. Whether you need small boardroom space, or a large conference room for seminars, this central hotel Cheltenham offers everything you need to suit your budget. For more information visit www.hiexcheltenham.com or call 01242 548200 and speak to your dedicated Conference & Events team.