Face-to-face meetings: personal and profitable

This sort of multi-tasking isn’t an effective way of working as we’re not truly present in the meeting. However, when we’re in the same room, there’s little option but to pay full attention to what is being said. And now we know the economic impact that face-to-face meetings have on UK businesses and the economy at large.

According to a new report published this month from the Centre for Economics and Business Research and Premier Inn, face-to-face meetings make an annual contribution of £193 billion to the UK economy and every UK business stands to gain an income boost of £147,200 per year, on average. What’s more, the research has found that the increase in revenue varies according to size of business. Where small companies can each expect an income boost of £43,200 on average per year, mid-sized businesses will each see a gain of £3.7 million per year.

Only when you build connections by meeting in person can you develop strong relationships and avoid the misunderstandings that might occur via screen or over the phone. It’s then far easier to spot behavioural nuances and subtle body language changes to help you read different situations and get a better understanding of meeting outcomes. Just a cross of the arms, or a look to the door can tell you if a meeting is going well or not.

This increased participation can also help people get a better idea of different personalities. Reading the room to spot levels of enthusiasm and involvement cannot be done in anything other than a face-to-face situation.

By taking the time to have a discussion in person, you build a much better understanding of what makes an individual tick, whether that’s finding out what football team they support, how old their children are or discovering another shared interest.

In terms of business sales and development, our ability to listen to the needs of clients and prospects means we can often go beyond the initial agenda. This can lead to additional business opportunities that wouldn’t have come up had you not been in the room together. In fact, the Cebr and Premier Inn research shows that when it comes to securing new business, just by walking out of their front door and going to meet prospects in person, a company is in line to increase revenues by an average £52,400 per year.

The ability to show and read emotion and interpret body language is invaluable. Building a sense of alignment on key issues, hosting a lively discussion and quite simply being able to look people in the eye are all powerful communications tools. Not only does face-to-face cement and build relationships but it underlines the idea of ‘you get out what you put in’ – and contributes to your bottom line.