by Matt Alderton | March 25, 2015
Since at least 2010 -- the year of the infamous General Services Administration (GSA) scandal, in which the agency spent $800,000 on a single Las Vegas meeting -- lawmakers have had government meetings in their crosshairs. Their vilification of meetings, however, might be misguided, suggests a new survey of 100 government workers by the Meetings Mean Business Coalition.

Published yesterday, the survey found that 98 percent of federal employees feel in-person meetings are important for advancing their agency's mission. Likewise, 92 percent say that engaging with colleagues, peers, partners, and vendors face-to-face improves their ability to work effectively.

"Face-to-face meetings are vital for conducting government business in the most effective and efficient way possible," David Peckinpaugh, president of Maritz Travel Company and co-chair of Meetings Mean Business, said in a statement. "The survey results show that sitting down and interacting with others one-on-one provides real-time productivity and continuous opportunities for engagement."

Other survey findings:

• Eighty-four percent of federal workers agree that America's future innovation and competitiveness require engagement, collaboration, and learning with those inside and outside government.

• Two in three federal employees say that collaborating and innovating is best done face-to-face.

• Eight in ten federal workers say that in-person training is better for meeting and engaging with the "right people."

• Four in five government employees say they have attended an in-person event that would not have resulted in the same level of success if conducted remotely.

"Meetings are a tool for creating personal connections and driving positive business outcomes," said Michael Dominguez, senior vice president of corporate sales for MGM Resorts International and co-chair with Peckinpaugh of Meetings Mean Business, adding that it is "important for agencies to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars and be able to distinguish legitimate meetings and travel activities from isolated instances of abuse we have seen in the past."

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