In-person is Invaluable

Face-to-Face Interaction Drives Success Behind the Bar

Have you ever sat through a meeting where people are paying more attention to their iPhone or Blackberry than they are to the live discussion? Or been out for drinks with friends where a lull in the conversation is a prompt to check e-mail or log onto Facebook for a quick look? Or perhaps you’re like my college-age niece who regularly spends 15 minutes or more texting with the person in the next room. I think almost all of us have either experienced this, heard about this or perhaps even been guilty of it!

In this age of e-mail, text messaging, Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, MySpace and others, there is so much opportunity to connect but also so much noise and distraction. Are these tech tools terrific for communicating and gathering information? Of course! Will these technologies replace the need for face-to-face interaction? Never!

Despite all the opportunities ushered in with the Internet, face-to-face business networking remains as important — or perhaps even more important — as ever for establishing relationships that can help you grow your business.

Basic human interaction is key to growth: staying current, learning from others and developing a network, not to mention having fun in the process. This can only be fully accomplished through face-to-face interaction. Convention Industry Council research shows the following:

  • Face-to-face meetings build trust and relationships
  • Education and training are more effective in a live setting
  • Live meetings actually save time and money
  • Live meetings result in a more effective exchange of ideas
  • Face-to-face meetings provide the human connection that powers business
  • Face-to-face meetings create jobs and power the economy

Trade shows, conferences and conventions are perfect, cost effective ways to interact with other industry professionals — and they offer you the added benefit of being able to touch, taste and feel the products you are contemplating purchasing. After all, you can’t sample a new vodka or test-drive a pour system online.

Time and again we hear real-life experiences from the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show attendees, who gather each March in Las Vegas from all over the U.S and the world to do just that — connect in real time with like-minded individuals and walk away with an experience that cannot be substituted with any online social medium.

John Flanagan of Flanagan LLC comments: “I learned more at the Nightclub & Bar Show in two-and-a-half days than one would learn on their own in a year. I am starting my first bar business and was blown away to see the number of experienced owner/operators attending classes. The guest speakers and attendees were very open and willing to share their knowledge. Between the broad class selection and the vendor presence, I would highly recommend attending future Nightclub & Bar trade shows for the ultimate learning and networking experience.”

Chad Dorrough, general manager of The Factory Eatery and Spirits in Ballston Spa, N.Y., believes face-to-face connection can directly affect business growth. “The 2010 NCB Show was very helpful. We brought back a lot of great products and ideas. The nightclub experiences were surreal and seeing the diversity of Vegas really inspired the staff. ... I can tell you our numbers have increased noticeably already due to the influence this trip had on us.”
So, don’t stop texting, tweeting, researching and networking online. All of that activity has great value, but remember, the greatest value of all is communicating face to face! NCB


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