The Unique Value of In-Person Workshops: A Reflection

0 5 months ago

As we approach our annual workshop, memories from our pre-COVID meetings at Lipscomb University come to mind. I’ve heard similar reflections from some of you, expressing a longing for the days of face-to-face interaction. We’re in a familiar bind as we consider the format for our Annual Workshop: the ease and inclusivity of a virtual platform like Zoom versus the undeniable appeal of meeting in person.

Recently, I led a conflict management workshop on-site for a healthcare system’s managers. It was refreshing to engage directly with participants, sharing laughs and stories in a way that’s challenging to replicate virtually. Being in the same room added an extra dimension to our interactions that I hadn’t fully appreciated until then.

Don’t get me wrong—I’m grateful for technology like Zoom that keeps our practice thriving across distances. It brings our work to wider audiences and facilitates connections that would otherwise be impossible. We achieve equally significant results online, with virtual communication having its own distinctive advantages.

Yet, there’s something missing that you only get from in-person exchanges—the spontaneous energy in the room, the handshake, or just sharing a moment over some cookies. These small interactions build a different type of connection. I have to wonder how this is also missing in my on-line mediations. Emotions are contagious, yet you have to be near to catch them.

Despite the effectiveness of our virtual workshops, they undoubtedly carry a different flavor than those we conduct in person. Each approach has its merits, and perhaps our goal should be to capture the best of both worlds in our professional endeavors.

I look forward to discussing this further with you all, be it over a screen or in a shared physical space.

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