We certainly live in interesting times. Who would have thought that people would ever prefer to communicate with each other without ever seeing the other party’s face (not counting a virtual avatar)? Who knew that emotions could be conveyed in such a variety of ways through text symbols by way of smileys and acronyms? Yet, in our world today, children prefer virtual lives to their real ones, with 45% of them claiming to be happier in their online world than in the real one. It seems that the very cues that make communication awkward in real life are excluded in the virtual world, which help children in “role-playing”:
‘You can say anything online. You can talk to people that you don’t normally speak to and you can edit your pictures so you look better. It is as if you are a completely different person.’
Ironically, it is this very ability to “role-play” in the virtual world that makes it hard for people to trust each other they meet only on the Internet and not in person. Cues such as body posture and eye contact are essential in breeding trust. This is why, despite the proliferation of ever-efficient means of online communication, offline meetings are still absolutely necessary in providing the personal interaction needed to build trust.
This infographic created by Bizzabo shows exactly why offline meetings are so important for businesses, or any event requiring communication in general, and the team at We Are Spaces strongly believes in and seeks to promote this. Forget about webinars or online forums – the interactions that you’ll get the most out of will be at offline gatherings, meetings, and parties.