October 17, 2011
The meetings and events industry does not exist in a vacuum and those of us who work in this field must continually seek new ways to increase our value to our employers and clients.
One of the ways I think we can do that is to look at who attends our meetings and incentive programmes and determine what each event must contain to best achieve the business objectives with as many participants as possible.
I can remember managing an event about seven years ago, where the president of our client’s company told all the attendees to turn off their cell phones and avoid leaving the room during presentations, since the value they would glean from the event would come from the speakers at the podium.
I can’t imagine any corporate executive saying that today.
Today, most companies recognize that the greatest value of a face-to-face event will come when the attendees interact and collaborate to move their learning to the next level.
That doesn’t mean that the presentations are meaningless – in fact, great presentations are often the starting point that will stimulate creativity and advancement.
But today’s event participant expects to be engaged before, during and after the event through the use of multiple channels of communication.
They want to be asked what their concerns are, what they would like to see discussed, and be given the opportunity to participate in the development of policies and solutions.
I suggest that we all should be looking at how we can use technology to increase the value of our events.
Consider creating a special website for each of your events that encourages dialogue among all interested parties before the event even starts.
Why not look at how the use of cloud technology can engage everyone and encourage greater collaboration (even among those who cannot attend your event in person)?
How about encouraging your presenters to poll their audience in real time and use Twitter to encourage greater dialogue?
Today’s event participants expect event organizers to engage them in more ways than ever before.
Let’s not disappoint them.