The Power of In-Person Experiences

Last night I went to Manchester, NH to see New Kids on the Block, Boyz II Men, and 98 Degrees. While I went because of my daughter, it was a fun concert. There was a ton of energy throughout the Verizon Wireless Arena that stayed strong for more than two hours.

B2M98D nkotb

My take: This experience made me think about the power of in-person events. These pictures were taken by my mobile phone and quickly uploaded to Facebook. Yes, the world is being taken over by digital media, from computers to mobile phones to a plethora of other connected devices. But all of the digital media in the world could not replace the power of being in that arena with all of those other people as these bands performed.

In-person events are uniquely powerful experiences. I’ve really learned this lesson with the Customer Experience Professionals Association. While we reach a global audience with our online resources, there’s a unique experience that happens when our members come together. That’s why there’s so much passion around our 20+ cities with local networking events and our annual Members Insight Exchange. It was as clear as ever during my participation in a recent CXPA event in London.

It turns out that there are some key characteristics of in-person experiences that are not easily replicated in any other type of interaction, some of which I capture in the acronym SPACE:

  • Spontaneous: People react to each other in real-time
  • Passionate: Energy gets magnified across the group
  • Accessible: People tend to lower their guard
  • Connected: Shared experience makes people feel more connected
  • Engaged: People become more fully immersed

The bottom line: Digital interactions will continue to grow, but in-person experiences will always have their unique SPACE

About Bruce Temkin, CCXP
I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about these topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

2 Responses to The Power of In-Person Experiences

  1. Good points/post Bruce. When we have a personal relationship we take a vested interest in actions taken, commitments made, and commitments kept. Nothing beats the real thing…

  2. Karl Sharicz says:

    Bruce, I wholeheartedly agree with you. There’s often nothing that substitutes for a live in-person experience. Being a musician as well, I can totally relate to what you’re saying here. I’ve watched streaming live performances on my iPad and while I appreciate the opportunity to see a performance I might not otherwise have been able to attend, it’s just not the same.

    Consider what you are saying here in the context of education as well. The trend in higher-education is toward MOOCs, short for massive open on-line courses. My wife teaches a MOOC at a locally well-known and established institution of higher learning and from all I’ve heard, both the student and the professor but lose out in this process. It lacks the personal touch. It’s sterile. At times, it’s boring. And, students really don’t get to know their professor and vice-versa.

    Yes, more degrees are being cranked out at record rates and more “education” is accessible to more and more people, but you have to wonder what the end result of all this massive on-line learning is. More people with a $100,000 degrees working at McDonald’s or unemployed??? I’m old enough to recall that time when the objective of going to college was the pursuit of learning and the only option was the live in-person experience. Great photos, by the way…!!

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