Meetings Canada


Fostering Peer-to-Peer Learning

Are you engaging your programme participants as much as you could be?

Our industry is dynamic and ever-changing.

You only have to participate in an industry webinar or peruse meetings-and-events publications and websites to confirm this.

In February, I saw several media reports describing how, at Lotusphere, IBM’s recent annual social-collaboration conference for its customers and partners, the computer giant created several new elements of the conference to tie into the theme of ‘social business.’

First, it created a single online landing page that provided a live stream of blogs, Twitter comments and Flickr photos, and live videos of three keynote sessions and interviews from the conference. By the third day of the conference, the site had 34,000 views of the video channel and more than 20,000 tweets.

Another plus for the Lotusphere organizers was that a large number of partners and customers not at the event visited the landing page to see what was going on and to participate remotely.

The integration of social media into events has to be one of the most exciting technological developments designed to increase the involvement of programme participants.

Just as it is important to understand the goals and objectives of the event sponsors before the planner starts looking at logistics, it is now critical to look at how the anticipated audience expects to be involved.

I think very few people go to an event today hoping to be ‘talked at’ for a day or two.

This is not to say that good presentations and engaging professional speakers are no longer relevant. They certainly help attract people to participate in a meeting or business event.

But I think most people believe that they will learn a lot from their peers at an event – perhaps even more than they will learn from the headline presenters.

Increasingly, technology makes it easier for people to engage each other at a distance, based on similar interests and opinions.

Remember when we thought video broadcasting was the best way for people to be engaged if they could not attend an event in person?

Now video conferencing is not engaging enough – people want to be able to contribute to the conversation in real time.

Why not look at how your events are planned and ask yourself if you are engaging your programme participants as much as you could be?

And at the same time, be on the lookout for the next leading-edge technology that will help our industry evolve further.

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