Face-to-Face Workplace Benefits: The Importance of In-Person Meetings

There have been remarkable advancements in technology to support remote work in recent years which have been accelerated further by the COVID-19 pandemic. These developments have undoubtedly been a boon to the MICE industry, creating new opportunities for global participation and attendance in events and meetings.

However, it is important to remember the tremendous benefits in-person meetings offer, as highlighted in our 2023 World Trends Report. Face-to-face communication plays a vital role in boosting creativity, innovation and improving company culture.

In this article, we look into the importance and advantages of in-person meetings.

In this article:

Why Are In-Person Meetings Important?

Curious about the significance of face-to-face communication in the workplace? We have outlined some key advantages below. 

Build Stronger Relationships

While many people adopted full-time remote work during the pandemic, this approach does not come without its drawbacks. Employees miss out on the opportunities for ‘friendship that [comes] from being in a room together’, as highlighted in our 2023 trends report. 

While colleagues can engage in professional communication in virtual meetings, they do not offer the same opportunity to establish personal connections and get to know each other on a deeper level.

A study from the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology explains that the connection between bonding and face-to-face communication comes down to the fact that people perceive others as more authentic and genuine during direct, in-person interactions. In short, to promote team building and encourage employees to forge meaningful and authentic working relationships, you should consider organising gatherings where everyone meets in person.

Enhance Collaboration and Creativity 

Research reveals that in-person meetings also have a positive impact on creativity. Employees are more distracted during virtual discussions. Their focus often drifts towards looking at each other on the screen or checking other tabs.

During face-to-face interactions, on the other hand, participants devote more time to observing the room and their surroundings. This process of absorbing the environment and scenery is associated with enhanced idea generation, fostering a conducive atmosphere for creativity to thrive.

Consequently, we would recommend conducting meetings that require employees to use their imagination in person to optimise creative potential.

More Effective Communication

Face-to-face requests are 34 times more effective than those sent by email, research shows. Unlike virtual meetings or messages, in-person interactions enable people to gauge what others are saying through tone of voice and body language, as well as their choice of words.

What’s more, you are more likely to have an employee’s full attention during face-to-face meetings as many individuals multitask during virtual meetings or while reading emails. This becomes nearly impossible when communicating in person.

As a result, having a conversation directly provides a much more productive and focused exchange, ensuring you have an employee's undivided attention and a more fruitful discussion compared to remote interactions.

What Are the Benefits of In-Person Meetings?

There are numerous benefits of in-person meetings, ranging from effectiveness to team relationships. Let's explore some of the primary advantages of face-to-face communication in the workplace.

Improved Decision Making

As employees are more engaged during in-person communication, decision-making improves significantly. Face-to-face interactions foster a sense of connection and understanding that is often hard to replicate through virtual means.

Being physically present in the same space allows team members to read each other's body language and social cues, enabling colleagues to communicate more sensitively and effectively and nurturing a stronger team dynamic.

Consequently, in-person meetings often foster a more positive and secure environment which results in increased employee participation and idea-sharing. This, in turn, leads to more thorough examinations of topics.

After covering all angles, people feel more confident in the final decision, translating to a more effective meeting overall.

Enhanced Productivity

Over half of people believe in-person meetings make them more productive, according to a recent study. Face-to-face communication allows employees to analyse each other's body language and tone of voice, providing valuable signals of expression that are often missed during online interactions. 

This heightened level of understanding leads to clearer and more effective communication, resulting in fewer miscommunications or misunderstandings and, in turn, facilitating more productive conversations. 

Additionally, face-to-face communication includes natural pauses. These tiny breaks in conversation serve as opportunities for coworkers to contribute their opinions. In contrast, virtual meetings often have awkward silences as participants are unsure about who will speak next or lead the conversation, making them more hesitant to contribute. 

As a result, employees are likely to feel more comfortable engaging and getting involved when these conversations take place in the real world. Lastly, the reduced number of distractions during in-person meetings, such as other open tabs or applications, leads to greater attentiveness and, in turn, more productive conversations.

Strengthened Team Dynamics

Another key benefit of in-person meetings, compared to those done virtually, is that they strengthen team dynamics. When taking place remotely, participants join at a scheduled time and often dive straight into the topic of discussion, leaving very little time for small talk or casual conversations before or after the meeting. 

While this may seem like a minor point, the lack of off-topic chatting can restrict employee relationships significantly, resulting in weaker team dynamics. In contrast, face-to-face meetings are often bookended with casual conversations and sometimes even joint coffee breaks or lunches. 

These casual interactions play a crucial role in cultivating positive relationships between employees and strengthening team dynamics.

Additionally, in-person communication tends to be much more fluid as participants gain a clearer understanding of each other's points, thanks to the visual aid of body language. This enhanced clarity fosters a greater sense of cohesion within the team as everyone feels like they are on the same page and better aligned with each other's perspectives.

How to Make the Most of In-Person Meetings

In an era where in-person meetings are less common, maximising the productivity and benefits of face-to-face discussions becomes all the more crucial. To assist you in getting the most out of these valuable interactions, we have compiled some useful tips.

Set Clear Objectives

Establishing clear objectives offers a fantastic way to maximise the productivity of in-person meetings. A clearly defined goal for the conversation helps maintain focus and minimises the chances of deviating from the main topic. 

Moreover, if discussions do start to go off track, it is easier to steer everyone back on course when the objective has already been established. All you need to do is offer a quick reminder. This means that less time is wasted on irrelevant points or unhelpful tangents, leading to more efficient and effective meetings overall.

By establishing clear objectives, teams can make the most out of their in-person interactions and ensure that their time together is purposeful and productive. With a shared understanding of the goal of the meeting, participants can work collaboratively towards achieving the desired outcomes and making the most of their valuable face-to-face time.

Prepare an Agenda

Preparing an agenda is a highly effective way of making the most of in-person meetings. A well-structured plan of action provides a roadmap for the discussion, outlining the topics to be covered and the allotted time for each item.

Making the agenda available in advance also encourages participants to come prepared with relevant information and ideas, meaning that the time is used most efficiently and fosters more meaningful conversations as a whole. 

What’s more, by setting expectations for what will be discussed, attendees will be able to prioritise their input and contributions, knowing when it will be most relevant to bring certain points to the table. Furthermore, an agenda serves as a valuable tool for keeping the meeting on track.

If discussions start to deviate from the outlined topics or schedule, the agenda can be referred to, redirecting the focus back to the essential points to keep the meeting on schedule. 

Utilise Breakout Sessions

Utilising breakout sessions is a great way to maximise the productivity of in-person meetings. By dividing the team into smaller subgroups, each with a specific purpose, you can foster a more comfortable and collaborative environment.

This setting encourages individuals to share their ideas and opinions freely, leading to more in-depth discussions of designated topics. What's more, the diverse range of perspectives in each subgroup can generate varied insights and approaches, enriching the overall discussion.

Breakout sessions also allow companies to explore topics more thoroughly. Each subgroup can focus on specific aspects, enabling a more in-depth and comprehensive examination of the subject matter.

Additionally, breakout sessions provide an excellent opportunity for team building. Participants have the chance to interact with colleagues from different departments or teams that they might not otherwise cross paths with. This strengthens working relationships and fosters a sense of cohesion in the team.

How to Overcome Challenges in Organising In-Person Meetings

Bringing the entire team together for an in-person meeting can present various challenges, particularly during the planning process. Below, you'll find some helpful advice to overcome these potential issues and organise a successful face-to-face gathering.

Plan in Advance

Be sure to plan any in-person meetings in advance. Preparing well ahead of time enables you to inform attendees about the meeting date much earlier, meaning they can mark their calendars and prioritise attendance.

Doing so also gives you time to address potential obstacles such as train strikes or limited timetables, allowing employees to arrange transportation and accommodation well in advance which ultimately results in higher attendance rates. 

Setting clear goals for the meeting ahead of time is also essential. Communicate these objectives with the team, allowing them to become familiar with them and come prepared to actively contribute relevant information to discussions.

Consider Virtual Attendees

No matter how much notice you give participants, it may be the case that not every member of the team can attend in person. To maximise productivity and engagement, it's important to implement measures to keep those who are not physically present actively involved and invested in discussions.

You can leverage technology such as video conferencing and collaboration tools to do this. Doing so will enable remote participants to join the meeting seamlessly and actively contribute their ideas and perspectives.

Additionally, you may want to consider recording the meeting for those who are unable to attend in real time, allowing them to catch up at a later time or date and stay informed and connected with the discussions.

Keep In-Person Meetings Short and Concise

Recent studies show that today’s constant use of technology has caused the average human attention span to plummet by 33% since the beginning of the millennium.  Furthermore, a considerable number of employees have become accustomed to working alone from their homes.

Consequently, the abrupt transition to the bustling and unfamiliar setting of in-person sessions can be a little overwhelming for staff members. To ensure participants remain mentally alert and focused, always try to condense the duration of face-to-face meetings. 

By adopting this approach, you are likely to make many employees feel much more at ease, ultimately enhancing their concentration, mental engagement and attentiveness, all of which will boost the overall productivity of the session.

If you are planning to cover multiple topics and have concerns about fitting them all in within a limited timeframe, it might be beneficial to break the discussion into shorter, more targeted sub-meetings. This approach can help attendees sustain engagement and active involvement for each separate segment.


Face-to-face communication in the workplace brings a wealth of benefits. It fosters closer and more positive relationships among team members while also boosting the productivity of discussions. Consequently, in-person meetings play a crucial role in team building and contribute significantly to overall performance, and individuals in the MICE industry should strive to continue planning important meetings in person to reap all of the benefits.

Enjoy this article? Make sure to share it!

Looking for something else?