Meeting Mentor Magazine

September 2023

Meetings Mean Business Research

Face-to-Face Learning and Collaboration
Improve Government Agency Operations

Budgetary limits and policy constraints continue to hold back government participation in meetings. To show members of Congress that face-to-face learning and collaboration improve federal agency operations, the Meetings Mean Business coalition commissioned APCO Insight to poll federal agency employees who organize or influence meetings and travel, enforce policies around meetings and travel, or attend events as part of their jobs. The 100 respondents work in 35 governmental agencies.

Here are key findings that explain why face-to-face meetings deliver high value to government and taxpayers:
• 98% of federal employees believe that meetings, conferences and events are important to advancing their agency’s mission. Two-thirds believe they are very important.
• 92% say that engaging with colleagues, peers, partners and vendors improves their ability to do their jobs effectively.
• For 84%, America’s future innovation and competitiveness are tied to engaging, collaborating and learning with those inside and outside of government. Two-thirds believe that this is best accomplished face-to-face.
• 89% say that in-person training, conferences and continuing education provide a better learning environment — receiving better feedback (75%), enabling a better ability to focus (78%) and fostering better teamwork (81%).

Face-to-face meetings hold more value than remote ones. Eight of 10 federal employees responding to the survey have attended an in-person event that would not have achieved the same level of success if conducted remotely.

“We know that face-to-face interaction is essential to the productive exchange of ideas and drives positive business outcomes,” said David Peckinpaugh, president of Maritz Travel Company and co-chair of the Meetings Mean Business coalition. “Canceling government participation in meetings and conferences costs taxpayers more in the end. We need a new conversation to make sure government is most efficient, collaborative and well-trained.”

MMB will work with advocacy partners to present this research to members of Congress and their staff as they deliberate legislative and budget issues that impact government meeting participation. “Well-defined meetings with specific goals promote successful business results,” Peckinpaugh emphasized.

Click here to access the survey results. — Maxine Golding

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