We spent more than a year reminding each other to unmute in virtual meetings, and even after the world reconnected, Teams and Zoom are still fixtures in our routines. It’s natural to wonder: Is there a point in connecting with clients or colleagues face to face anymore? Is there still professional value in being in the same room at conferences, summits, and expos?
I have opinions, and strong ones. Snapshot is a creative agency that works primarily in all things digital marketing. We live in Nashville and St. Louis, but we live on the internet. And face-to-face connections, in 2023, are crucial to our business, maybe more now than they’ve ever been. The conference we just got back from proved that to me, in no uncertain terms.
Getting back out there
After two years of being postponed due to the pandemic, the Thrive and HotSpring Dealer conference in San Diego, organized by leading hot tub manufacturer Watkins Wellness, came back in 2023. Hot tub conferences are fun, traditionally, but this one was filled with excitement and energy.
We had the opportunity to interact with current clients and meet with potential clients in person again. We shared our team’s progress, brainstormed new ideas, and celebrated our successes. Through conversations and quick demos, we introduced our company and discussed how we can support people’s businesses.
Being present at the conference allowed us to build trust and strengthen relationships with current and potential partners in a way that two years of Zoom check-ins and circle-back emails just couldn’t hope to replicate.
Losing access to those personal connections and then regaining that access made it clear: We’re always going to be more receptive, more engaged, more inspired—more human—when we’re together in a room.
Especially for people in sales, marketing, and customer service, face-to-face interaction is crucial when it comes to establishing new relationships and growing existing ones, and an increasingly virtual world hasn’t changed that at all. It might’ve only made it more pronounced.
Research backs up the benefits
Data tends to make things more concrete. So, a few stats that back up the sense I left the conference with:
- One study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology found that face-to-face requests were 34 times more effective than emailed ones.
- In another study on networking, 95% of people said face-to-face connections were essential for long-term business relationships.
- 79% said their professional success depends on networking.
- 68% preferred to do that networking in person rather than virtually.
Hybrid life is here to stay
This isn’t a dig at remote connections so much as an appreciation of balance.
During the height of the pandemic, many of us—out of necessity—added new professional tools to our toolboxes. We gained flexibility and expanded our creative problem-solving skills.
As we returned to more regular programming, we got a chance to see, with fresh eyes, the benefits of coming together like we used to for networking, connecting, collaborating, and communicating.
So maybe what we take away from the lockdown era isn’t that face-to-face connections aren’t necessary anymore. Maybe it’s that we now have a chance to plot out how to tap into the virtual world and the real world in the best, most effective ways, and set the stage for better ways to work. And that’s inspiring.
See some of the work we shared at the Thrive and HotSpring Dealer conference in Snapshot’s portfolio. Questions or digital marketing needs? Connect with us. We’d be glad to show you more of what we do, virtually or face to face.