Last week I attended a local start-up event in person. The audience heard a few companies pitch and asked the founders questions. I hadn’t been to one of these in quite some time. Today I followed up with everyone I connected with at the event. A few observations:
- Energy – Start-up energy is a powerful force. It’s magnified when you get more people in a room who are passionate about building or helping others build. It’s hard to re-create the energy of being in person at a start-up event.
- Context – You can learn a lot about someone by watching how they interact with other attendees. This can’t be replicated via video and is very difficult during one-on-one meetings. I’m able to see another dimension of a person in these group settings.
- Efficiency – Video allows you to have back-to-back meetings, maximizing the number of one-on-one meetings you can have in a day. In-person events are efficient in a different way. They allow you to reconnect with many people organically. They allow you to meet and have the attention of people you otherwise wouldn’t be able to chat with. And they allow you to more efficiently connect people who may benefit from knowing each other.
- Memorable – Even if it’s a brief chat, an in-person connection is always more memorable than a digital one. People are more likely to remember people they’ve talked with in person.
- Hybrid – Don’t get me wrong—if attending in person isn’t an option, there’s value in attending virtually. Offering both attendance options is great because it makes events more accessible to more people.
People like interacting in person, and that was evident at this event last week. I’m looking forward to attending more in-person events this year.