Face-to-face meetings could boost revenues

Businesses in the UAE could be missing out on more than a quarter (26 per cent) of additional revenue because they are not investing enough time in face-to-face contact, a recent report has found.

By Staff Report

Published: Sat 28 Dec 2013, 11:09 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 7:54 PM

The global research report, titled ‘Business Meetings in a Modern World,’ surveyed more than 2,000 businessmen and women across the UAE, US, UK, China and India, to better understand how business professionals are using both virtual and face-to-face meetings and the possible economic impact.

The survey, published by Crowne Plaza Hotels and Resorts, found that more than half (57 per cent) of business people surveyed in the UAE believed that they have lost a contract or client simply because they didn’t have enough face-to-face meetings, which they estimated resulted in the estimated yearly revenue loss of 26 per cent.

About 79 per cent of Emirati businessmen and women state that face-to-face meetings are better for building long-term trust and ensuring strong client relationships than virtual meetings and more than two thirds (65 per cent) reported that the number of virtual meetings they attended had increased in the past five to 10 years, demonstrating that the value of face-to-face meetings is being overlooked in favour of cost and time-saving technologies, such as video conferencing.

Dr Michelle Hunter, consultant business psychologist and programme leader on the MSc Business Psychology programme at Heriot-Watt University Dubai, said: “Face-to-face meetings afford participants opportunities to develop transparency and trust amongst each other, which would be limited through the use of other forms of communications. Besides this, meeting face-to-face is renowned for its ability to build trust and clarify information in a shorter time. A major reason for this is that contact is a basic human need — this allows members to engage in and observe verbal and non-verbal behavioural styles, which can be captured in real-time.”

Hazel Carter-Showell, UK business psychologist and body language expert, explained: “Although developments in technology allow business men and women to make achievements in meetings that would have been impossible a few years back, meeting face-to-face continues to bring significant benefits that are much harder to obtain through virtual channels. One of these benefits is building trust, which research has shown is behind many profitable companies. Trusted companies have higher morale, productivity, lower employee turnover and create deeper relationships with their customers.”

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