“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand” – Confucius. 

This is one of the most famous quotes from Confucius, a Chinese philosopher from 551BC.
They say that there are different types of wisdom, depending on whether it comes from hearing something, learning or studying something, or experiencing something in real life.

I think that is so true and a very powerful concept that is applicable to our business life as well.

During these days, we are debating about which things should be done in person in the future. COVID is showing the world that many things like remote work or telemedicine will continue to grow post-COVID, as fantastic improvements in many people’s lives. We are also debating the real value of many live events. I hear people telling me that events will never be the same in the future because people have now discovered Zoom, similar technologies, and virtual events platforms and they will simply not go back to events like in the past.

I spent the last decade of my professional career investing time and money into event technology as one of my most active areas. I should agree and be very happy and excited along with those people who think that virtual events are the future. But I’m not. Let me explain.

I think that virtual events and similar event technologies are great and very useful for specific audiences. But I also think that they are “a very limited type of wisdom,” similar to the “hearing something” category in the Confucius quote.

Some people think that hybrid events will be the future and a game-changer for the live events industry. I tend to agree with the idea that hybrid events will allow different audiences to engage and interact with event content, community, and activity in different ways according to their specific interest or need. And that’s great. I would think of the second wisdom category (I see and I remember) for this type of interaction. Way more powerful than just virtual events or digital connections but still not the perfect thing.

The “perfect thing” is doing. As Confucius says, I do and I understand. I would think that the real event, the face to face interaction, the human connection that happens in real life is the “perfect thing” that should help us to understand. If you are able to experience the real-life connection your level of understanding will be there. And that’s why I think that live events will survive COVID. Like they survived 9/11, World Wars, Sars, and many other global crises in the past.

The real thing happens face to face. That’s how we build trust if we are doing business. We experience the “real thing” if we are watching a concert or football game at the stadium. That’s how we engage as human beings and that is not going away.

Wisdom is great at any level and we should engage with any opportunity to learn and connect. Technology is a unique tool allowing all of us to experience a better lifestyle in many unthinkable ways.

But when we “do things” we understand and I continue to think that participating in real-life events and meeting other humans face to face is “doing,” allowing us to understand things in a way better manner thanks to that experience.

Long live for the live events industry!