The Future of Meetings and Events

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One of the most efficient ways to have effective communication in the workplace is through meetings. Therefore, many companies hold them daily, weekly, or monthly. According to a 2013 study by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 11 million meetings take place daily in the United States alone. The same study reports 97% percent of workers felt that effective communication in the workplace is essential to deliver their best work and leads to successful collaboration.

Being creative and thinking of innovative ways to engage participants is key to a successful meeting. However, the high frequency of meetings in the workplace can cause attendees to think of them as a time-consuming task that does not deliver results. This is because meetings are sometimes organized by internal staff that do not have the skills to coordinate and manage a properly structured meeting. This results in unproductive meetings that do not get the message across to the attendees or fulfill the purpose of the meeting.

In March 2019, the Professional Convention Management Association hosted the  Destination Showcase Expo which explored the future trends for things like everyday meetings through large-scale events. The expo featured presentations for new products, and services, meant to enhance collaboration, reduce cost, and/or enhance interactions between stakeholder groups. Many of the presentations discussed the need for interactions that are out of the ordinary and experiences that are more than simple information sessions.

A key highlight of the expo was the importance of the connections between the content and participants. In fact, many felt that there will be a shift from virtual meetings to in-person meetings. The areas below were identified as critical factors for making those important connections:

Emotional intelligence was identified as the most significant impact on how events will be designed. In this age of technology, people are looking to move away from their computer screens and have real meaningful human interactions. This will require meeting planners to become innovators by customizing events to fulfill the deeper need of each client. An article by Forbes pointed out that people have a hard time trusting others when they lack the bonding that naturally happens when people meet face-to-face. Therefore, event planners must analyze how a group connects and use that data to create an experience that is meaningful for each group.

The trend that caused the most excitement amongst event attendees was a “clear sense of place,” which means leveraging geography for deeper enrichment. The PCMA presentation given by Farenheit212, mentioned that 85% of Millennials value experiences and the ability to leave their comfort zones over material goods. This trend will push planners to think of alternative spaces to hold meetings and events. The space could be a cultural landmark, popular local setting, or an international destination that could spark interest amongst attendees. These spaces should excite and encourage people to attend events and could also serve as a cultural immersion opportunity.

While there are challenges with adopting future trends, a well-prepared event coordination staff can help with overcoming the obstacles that may arise. A-G’s staff have worked with members of the American Astronomical Society to coordinate the Total Solar Eclipse Conference in the South Carolina Boeing Observatory and the BlueCross BlueShield Planetarium at the South Carolina State Museum. We have worked with several Federal Government clients in spaces that appealed to and caused excitement amongst conference attendees. We have coordinated events in exciting locations that lend themselves to experiencing a “clear sense of place” such as Atlanta, Nashville, Charlotte, and Seattle. To learn more about A-G Associates’ event planning services, please visit our website at www.a-gassociates.com, or contact Michelle Wagler at mwagler@a-gassociates.com.

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