Skip to content
Access Advisors logo - home

Return of Kanohi ki te Kanohi, Face-to-Face Interactions

In a world increasingly dominated by virtual communication, the return of "Kanohi ki te Kanohi" – or "face to face" interactions – is a profound reminder of the power of personal connection and the intrinsic value of direct human engagement.

Susanna, Lourdes and Chandra farewell hugs

In a world increasingly dominated by virtual communication, the return of "Kanohi ki te Kanohi" – or "face to face" interactions – is a profound reminder of the power of personal connection and the intrinsic value of direct human engagement.

At Access Advisors, we thrive on these direct, in-person encounters, from training sessions and client meetings to workshops, conferences, and research sessions. We've even transitioned to sharing office space after years of remote work.

I love delivering training, no matter who the audience is or where they are. Raising awareness of digital accessibility and access needs of different people, is part of the reason I love my job. I also love doing research and helping to provide insight into lived experience of access needs.

Being based in Ōtautahi Christchurch with clients across the motu, remote has been a necessity until recently. Now we are doing a lot more in person training, attending conferences, organising in person workshops, attending networking events, and taking clients for lunch.

The revival of face-to-face engagement brings many positives. Here are a few I’d like to share.

New Connections

At a conference I recently attended, it was the connections with people that sticks with me most. Yes you can meet people online, but those incidental networking conversations where one person introduces you to another person right in the moment can’t be replicated.

Also, the experience of meeting colleagues and clients in person after months of virtual collaboration is unparalleled – it's like reuniting with old friends and forging new connections at the same time. The first time meeting with Joseph who helped with our social media a few years back has to be a highlight of the year for me.

Take home message: Attend that face to face session if you can, you never know who you might meet.

Chandra and Joseph hugs

Handshakes and Hugs

As someone who enjoys social interaction, I've missed the physical connection that in-person meetings provide. Until recently, handshakes were a distant memory and hugs where even further in the past.

There is still some awkwardness, like when you shake someone’s hand and they immediately offer you a bottle of hand sanitise. But I’m a firm believer that a handshake tells you a lot about someone. And for those who know me, I have missed hugs too.

Take home message: Make hugs and handshake less awkward by asking first, and maybe even carry hand sanitiser.

Sally and Chandra goodbye hugs after lunch


In-person interactions are invaluable, even in our digital age. The unfiltered nature of in-person meetings enables us to see the distinct personalities and needs of our audience. It allows us to go beyond the confines of digital communication and delve into the lived experiences and nuances that characterise individuals’ interactions with technology. A quick round the screen intro is nothing in comparison to real life introduction exercises.

Take home message: You can learn more, do more active listening, and connect better in person.

Immediate Feedback and Adaptability

Another significant advantage of face-to-face interactions is the immediacy of feedback. Unlike the occasional digital thumbs-up or emoji on a video call, we can read immediate facial reactions, which serve as powerful indicators of engagement and understanding. The energy and enthusiasm coming from participants also inspires me.

Online, you often have to speak to a wall of faces, or even worse a blank wall where videos are off. It is harder to get the energy and feedback from participants. But in person you can see if anyone is struggling, or becoming distracted. This helps me provide on-the-spot solutions and adapt my approach as needed.

Take home message: Where possible go for face to face meetings, training etc, or at least make it hybrid. And include ways to get online participants to interact.

Attendees paying attention to the speaker

Research Insight

Engaging with individuals in person also fosters empathy and offers a deeper understanding of their needs. For example, remote video conference research sessions were perfect during Covid. Now however, if time and budget allow, I’d choose in person research every time.

Being in the same physical space facilitates a more profound connection and comprehension of the challenges and hurdles disabled people encounter when interacting with digital interfaces. For example, you can’t always see the physical adaptations people have had to make to their workstation.

Take home message: If you are doing qualitative research, especially in the early stages of design, then try to do your research in person.

I cherish the many positives of in-person interactions and celebrate the revival of face-to-face events post-Covid. Long may it continue.

If you’d like any training, research or consulting then get in touch.