It might not be what is discussed during a
meeting but the informal discussions that take place during the
coffee and lunch breaks, or in the taxi on the way to the airport
after a business gathering is over, that make face-to face
meetings a more effective form of business communication than
other increasingly popular ‘virtual alternatives’.
fact, highlighting the importance of sideline conversations
enabled by face-to-face meetings, was one of many findings in a
new academic paper entitled ‘Why Face-to-Face Business Meetings
Matter’ published by Dr Richard Arvey PhD, Head of the Department
of Management and Organisation at National University of
Commissioned by Hilton Hotels
Corporation in Asia, the paper addresses the business and
psychological values derived from face-to-face meetings.
paper, Dr Arvey concludes that meetings definitely matter to the
modern business and whilst companies are increasingly relying on
‘computer-mediated’ channels such as email or the internet, they
should be careful to ensure that they are still selecting the most
appropriate medium for their business discussions.
about his research Dr Arvey said, “Current trends suggest that
face-to-face meetings are increasingly being substituted by
virtual alternatives, but research shows that face-to-face
meetings provide many positive effects compared to computer
mediated alternatives. It is my belief that eliminating
face-to-face meetings would be a mistake for businesses because of
the variety of positive psychological as well as general business
outcomes that meetings can offer corporations.”
said that conference calls or emails are a good option when
companies want to convey information but don’t really need a
decision or response from the participants, or perhaps have a need
to respond to an issue quickly. Meanwhile, face-to-face meetings
are considered more effective when wide consensus and persuasion
is required, or when there is a range of complex tasks or
decisions on the agenda.
Dr Arvey’s paper goes on to
provide further psychological reasons as to why meetings, through
human contact enable transparency and trust, establish strong
social and important exchange relationships and assist the ability
for participants to evaluate and judge.
commissioned the research to explore current business perceptions
about the importance of meetings. The hotel chain wanted to
determine whether short term cost cuts made by stopping meetings
were worth the potentially detrimental longer term effects to
Dr Arvey also said there was a need to take a
different approach to running successful meetings in countries
across Asia Pacific. While Singaporeans prefer to achieve closure
and clear procedures through meeting, participants in China tend
to place a higher value on traditions. Meanwhile, Australians
respond better to meetings that emphasize individual
Andrew Flack, Vice President Sales &
Marketing, Hilton Hotels Asia Pacific said of the Hilton
commissioned research, "Working with a respected academic such as
Dr Arvey has provided us with fresh insights in to the evolving
needs of our meetings customers. What we learnt not only
supports our own belief that meetings still matter, but
also brings further relevance to our "Meetings for Free"
promotion which is designed to help reduce costs and
keep business people meeting."
Meetings For Free
‘Why face to face meetings
matter’ forms part of a comprehensive programme of meetings
activity in support of Hilton’s ongoing promotion ‘meetings for
Anyone making a bedroom booking before 30th June for any
date in 2009 will be eligible to receive a complimentary day
meetings package including meeting room facilities, refreshments
and lunch. The offer extends across all Hilton Family hotel brands
in Asia Pacific: Hilton, Conrad and Doubletree by Hilton.
Meetings for Free applies to any conference, training or sales
event held at any one of 47 Hilton Family hotels across 14 Asia
Pacific countries for meetings from as few as 2 to as many as 100
The promotion is open for bookings made
before 30th June 2009, for
events taking place throughout the year until 31st December 2009.
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