by Loren G. Edelstein | July 15, 2011

The Professional Convention Management Association, UBM Studios and the Virtual Edge Institute will release a joint report next week, "Business Motivations and Social Behaviors for In-Person and Online Events," revealing the business motivations and social behaviors of attendees and exhibitors participating in physical and online events. Researchers surveyed 479 marketing and event professionals about why they attend in-person and online events, the extent to which their business goals are met in both environments and their sense of engagement during those meetings. Some key findings:
• People are sociable, both in person and online. More than 80 percent of respondents are comfortable/extremely comfortable connecting and networking with strangers in both physical and virtual settings.
•  All participants are easily distracted. In-person participants are about as likely to be checking e-mail as their online counterparts (81 percent in person vs. 83 percent online) or leave a meeting/session for some reason (65 percent in person vs. 68 percent online).
• Online attendees are significantly more likely to take a phone call during a presentation than physical attendees (66 percent online vs. 48 percent in person).
• Though both physical and virtual attendees admit to surfing the web or shopping during a presentation, it's more common amongst online attendees (42 percent online vs. 28 percent in person).
• One-third of respondents "enjoy" traveling for business. The 17 percent who don't enjoy being on the road are more likely to be heavy users of virtual meeting options. 

The full report is available at: <> .