“Video Killed the Radio Star,” by The Buggles rang through my ears as I sat and pondered the future of this dynamic industry we work in – the Events Industry. All of us who are truly ingrained in it bring our own unique perspectives to this enigmatic topic. But most, I think, will agree with me when I say that our great industry will not “go gentle into that good night.” No matter what tests potential challengers – be it second screen distractions or virtual reality – pose, face-to-face interactions will always have more value than what any digital means can provide.
Let’s focus on just one particular aspect of face-to-face events: training. Webinars, videos, virtual calls, LMS systems, et al - a slew of technologies out there can help in training whomever, wherever and whenever. These are all fantastic, but I see these as aids to, and not replacements for, hands-on and personalized face-to-face training.
This is not me knocking technology. Technology has a major and important role to play in the future of learning, but to truly learn, absorb and retain new techniques and processes, in-person interactions are still the best.
What are the outstanding benefits of onsite training?
1. The personal connections made between individuals. How many times on a video or group call do you find yourself interrupting someone only to go back and forth to decide who should speak next? Or not speaking up at all because you are not in the room? Fairly common, right? At in-person trainings, this issue is almost nonexistent. The latter creates stronger connections because the conversations can evolve and become more personalized. In such environments, people learn not just what they came to learn in the first place, but also a lot more that they did not know was out there to be learned. The trust engendered by being in the company of peers who have faced similar challenges and are willing to share their experiences also helps to create a more close-knit, trustworthy community and the ideas thus generated contribute to the growth of the entire ecosystem.
2. Genuine emotions and reactions are easier to express and read at face-to-face trainings. It is difficult to identify emotions such as fear, hesitancy or confusion while reading text messages or just listening to a person’s voice. It is much more difficult to misread body language and facial expressions when you are in the same physical space as the other person. We are human and emotions come as a part of the package. There are numerous studies that tie emotions to better memories especially within a physical environment. It is our very emotions that help instructors understand the current mood and adapt to an individual or group’s learning style.
3. Peer acknowledgement of your processes and theirs. In-person meetings are an incredible way to coordinate and collaborate with other professionals because it’s easier to figure out the best way to present your work and seek feedback on it. This is one of the most important aspects of hands-on training at user groups and workshops. It cements the distinctiveness of your perception while validating your current processes. There is no better way to perform checks and balances than in person with a group of your peers working and learning with the same system.
Two cheers for technology giving us the ability to make our work more efficient and effective. Three cheers for human intelligence for giving us the ability to think critically and strategically about our own internal processes!
This is our industry. This is the wonder of it all, within the event industry, the community, the collaboration, and the feeling of completeness we all feel once we have had the backing and support of our peers. That is the true effect and wildly outstanding benefit of in-person, hands-on training.