“One of the reasons that I love live (in-person) events is because they bring people together and stimulate creative juices and ideas.”

Prior to COVID-19, we were living in a pretty fast-paced digital world. I would even go so far to say that sometimes we forgot about (or underrated) the value of face-to-face contact.

I was guilty of foregoing a face-to-face meeting for an email or phone call. I’ve worked from a home office for 20 years, so it wasn’t unusual for me to go weeks without seeing any of my clients (or my own team members) face-to-face. This was despite the fact that whenever we did get together something magical always happened!

Then came the pandemic, and suddenly these opportunities for real life interactions (and the magic that results) were taken away from us.

E-Learning  – No Longer a Trend

Even before COVID-19, e-learning had already transitioned from being a trend to a mainstay method for how we learn new skills, educate ourselves, and interact with people in our industry. Webinars, podcasts, apps, and audiobooks were a few popular ways to learn new stuff online without ever having to put on pants.

Then the pandemic hit and online learning became the ONLY option.

Fast forward several months and we are all missing those valuable connections (and those creative sparks) achieved through face-to-face interactions. These have been traded for spending our days holed up in a room or hidden behind a computer as we learn and meet exclusively online. E-learning is definitely no longer a trend.

The Sports Analogy

Sport is a perfect example of the experiential difference between digital consumption of an event versus in-person attendance. How many times have you watched a sport on TV and then later saw it live and thought WOW – it’s so much more exciting!

I used to think watching golf on TV was a pretty great way to ease into an afternoon nap. Then, I saw it live. I ooed and awed along with everyone else, plus I got in a good workout walking from hole to hole following the golfers.

Completely. Different. Experience.

Why In-Person Events Reign Supreme

Despite some of the amazing things that can be said about e-learning and virtual events, here are my top 4 reasons why an in-person event reigns supreme:

#1 Body language & eye contact: Whether you are aware of it or not, your body is communicating with others. In virtual environments, a significant amount of communication is lost.

#2 Face-to-face connection: The connections we make in person tend to be deeper and more impactful than those we make virtually. There is something about human contact that truly makes a relationship blossom.

#3 Distractions: If you are communicating with colleagues behind a screen, you are less likely to be fully invested. If you get dressed up in your cutest outfit, perkiest smile and head out the door, your commitment to the subject matter will increase 10x.

#4 Ambiance and Atmosphere: Events are all about the details and the senses – the music, the décor, the crowd, the vibe. In a virtual environment, it is much harder to create ambiance. One of the reasons that I love live events is because they bring people together and stimulate creative juices and ideas. The connections start flowing, the chatter ramps up, and the energy is electric. Events are an AMAZING marketing tool too.

What’s Next?

Yet, here we are in the last quarter of 2020 in Canada and everyone has been forced to embrace virtual events because in most provinces and territories, we simply do not have an alternative.

As 2021 approaches, I long for an opportunity to host a meeting with my team around a board room table. Hell, I will happily endure the hassle associated with finding a convenient time and place to meet, driving to said location, paying for parking, and waking up an hour earlier to do hair and make-up and choose a suitable outfit. The thought of attending a live sporting event or a conference in-person has me giddy!

E-learning may be here to stay, but it will never replace the excitement and value of attending a live event in-person.

Service Alert – Did You Know that iSPARK Produces Virtual Events?
Head on over to ‘Our Services’ to learn more about our event production services.

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