Importance of Face to Face meetings

How does the future of face-to-face meetings look in the digital age? And what's the role of going figital? A talk with MPI's strategic development senior adviser, Angeles Moreno, about the power of human connections.

Kevin Van der Straeten
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How does the future of face-to-face meetings look in the digital age? And what's the role of going figital? A talk with MPI's strategic development senior adviser, Angeles Moreno, about the power of human connections.

Hi Angeles, welcome to our studio.

Hi, good morning, how are you, Kevin?

I'm fine, thank you. Today we're going to talk about face-to-face meetings. And of course, the funny thing is: we do it over a video call.

Why does face-to-face still matter in these digital days?

Oh my God, that's a good question. But basically, it's because of creativity.

So, this big impact in our mindset keeps us thinking and evolving and continue our evolution as humans. It's only when you meet other humans, when you get that high level of creativity. When your mind really starts thinking. Provoking feelings that will become actions, that drive you to results. And that's the way, going forward. So, that's why face-to-face will always matter.

Even I still remember when Steve Jobs, in this era of iPhones, right now, and the big technology, said that people have to be in the room, together, to really get the ideas flowing. Even he said that. Though he was the big advocate, obviously, about technology. And he still believed that we need to put the right people in a room, to make them exchange knowledge and exchange ideas. To continue growing. So, that's why face-to-face will always matter.

What you see these days, is that more and more meetings are replaced with video-calls, digital meetings. Sometimes even just by e-mails and that's it. How do you deal with that? When do you decide to have a face-to-face meeting or event, it can also be a bigger event, or the digital ways?

I think we're living in a fantastic era. So, we can choose whatever we prefer.

But we all agree that the meaningful connections and really, when you close deals, you get to meet people where you really want to grow in the future, in a longer term, you get the big inspiration, is face-to-face in a human interaction. It doesn't mean that we can't do, also, technology connection. But we believe that through a face-to-face meeting, you have a clearer communication. You cannot only get the content or get to see other people, but you get to meet them. You read facial, also, expressions. The body language. And you trust more. When you meet other people, you really engage with the people. In a human way. You get to feel them. And that's a big value.

But we're living in an era where we can also continue, step-by-step, going through technology.

And that's why the combination of the two, in this digital landscape that we are right now, is fantastic.

It has to be then, when we do a face-to-face meeting, it has to be very well designed or organized and structured. Because we have limited time for that. So, we are...

Our expectations of these face-to-face meetings, is much higher, right now. So, we need to be...

We need to feel that it's a big value. Moving us from our offices, our houses. Or our day-to-day routine. It has to be more meaningful, no? When we meet face-to-face.


Yes, you mentioned, and that's of course totally correct, that in a video-call you get less of the sense of the other person. You miss a lot of what's happening in the room. But technology also doesn't stand still.

There's new technology on the way: virtual reality. Which makes it even possible to put on glasses and actually sit in a meeting room with people.

Well, I think there will be, or we need to start thinking that it will be, like, a combination of the two. It's the figital, actually, customer experience. At every turn. So, it's not only the digital. But we are expecting this human interaction. So, I think...

I was reading the other day, in a conference, that there was a main speaker who was virtual reality. And they had that. And they were saying, all the participants, on social media, they were posting: that's pretty cool, but we are missing to see him in person. And this was like a general comment that they had in social media, as feedback from the conference. And the organizers were a little bit worried about the expectations of the people. So, they felt like a show. It was fantastic to have that opportunity to feel that. But they were missing this human interaction.

I think we will reduce the time that we dedicate to face-to-face. Which will make us more effective and more efficient. But, at the end of the day, we have to meet to make the final decisions. In many different aspects. And it's not only...

And then, in addition to that, you need to put, also, culture. And you need to put, also, different geographies. And how other cultures interact. So, for example, in my country...

I'm based in Spain. I mean: the physical meeting is still something that is incredible. So, the face-to-face. And anytime that you talk to someone, the final sentence will be: okay, but when do we meet? So, this is like the final sentence. But I'm experiencing that...

So, I'm working with all European countries on a regular basis, every single day. And I'm experiencing that also in other cultures.

It's not only, more, in the Latin cultures, where obviously it is the maximum. But also, in others. It's like the final conversation, if we can do it face-to-face: much better. It's interesting.

You're also a valuable contributor to MPI. Also, MPI organizes a lot of face-to-face meetings. How do you deal with that at MPI? How do you make sure you get that right value in the face-to-face meetings?

That's the thing. The value proposition from MPI is education. Executive education from a great value, networking and building business opportunities. This is like the main three mantras that we have. And for getting the executive education, we have an incredible online platform. Probably one of the best in the industry, right now. But at the end of the day, the people want to network.

So, what we need to make very clear and we need to be very conscious: that when we design any kind of networking opportunity or face-to-face opportunity, it has to be of very great value. We need to have the right people in the room, to provoke the right and meaningful connections and conversations. So, when the people go out of that meeting space or that venue or any space that we meet them in person, the people really think that they were transformed, somehow. Otherwise we don't deliver the promise. And if we don't deliver the promise, then the people are not happy, are not satisfied.

But even though we have a lot of people consuming our online deliverables, in any kind of certification, meeting, keynotes, we have thousands of things and in different aspects and content, the people want to meet face-to-face. So, they are asking us all the time, like: when are you doing something again, that you put the right people in the room?


The beauty of that is that twenty years ago, we were attending events all the time. Or meetings where there were thousands of people meeting. Now, it can be smaller. More reduced. More to-the-point. Shorter meetings. But with great value. Very good design.

Because, this is at the end the customer experience. When we do build a customer journey, of all our types of members, for example, in MPI, we do create touchpoints. Digital and physical. And the combination of the two, is where we really exceed the expectations of the different members that we have in the association.

Okay, I remember there's still a future for the events and meetings industry.

I think...

I've been working in this industry for 21 or 22 years. And since I've started, I've been hearing all the time, like: technology is going to kill the industry.

I think technology is improving the industry. A lot. I think we are, right now, enjoying, as participants to events, or as speakers, or as stakeholders from the industry, we are really enjoying an amazing mix of the both. Where technology's always helping to generate more meaningful human connections.

And it's really a great era, I think. I'm enjoying a lot.

Okay Angeles, that's a great one to conclude with.

Thank you very much for your time.

It's a pleasure.

And you at home, thank you for watching our show. I hope to see you next week.