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The Future of Conferences: Ten Things Great Conference Organisers Do Differently

 31st May 2018 by gihan

Videoconferencing, online meetings, telepresence and other collaboration technology are gaining traction. That doesn’t mean the in-person conference is obsolete – but its role has changed. Some of the benefits of coming together for a conference can be achieved just as effectively in other ways.

As a conference keynote speaker (and somebody who has been in the industry for over 20 years), I have seen major changes in the way conferences and events work. Especially in the last few years, because of technology, changing demographics, and global connectivity.

If you’re in the MICE industry – as a speaker, conference organiser, speaking bureau, association, event sponsor, or anybody else who’s involved in events – download my new special report “The Future of Conferences”.

In this special report, I look at ten trends affecting professional conferences and events, and how conference organisers take advantage of them. Good conference organisers adapt to these changes. Great conference organisers embrace them to create transformational experiences.

I wrote the first edition of this report in 2015, and I’ve now rewritten it completely to bring it up to date for 2018. This is not just a minor revision – I’ve completely rewritten it!

The first edition is only three years old, but that’s an eternity now in this fast-paced world.

In that time, we have seen rapid growth in technology such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality, online collaboration tools, personalisation and customisation, social media, and much, much more. It goes without saying that much of this technology affects the Meetings Incentives Conventions & Exhibitions (MICE) industry, but not always in the most obvious ways, and not always to the same extent. This revised edition reports on the latest trends and their impact, especially in the Australian market.

As with the first edition, I wanted to make this more than just a “white paper”, but also a source of practical ideas for great conference organisers. So, as before, I have included practical ideas for you to created more compelling event experiences. In fact, I have gone much further than the previous edition, including more in-depth ideas and more references to external sources.

For example …

We look at the three different types of people in your audience – based on their age and demographic profile:

Not surprisingly, each group wants different things, and there are so many ways now to deliver. For example, we look at audience interaction tools like a live word cloud:

Or what about an online bulletin board for audience members to share their biggest takeaways from a panel discussion?

Yep, there’s a lot of tech – but it’s not all equally useful!

Meetings industry peeps in Australia were asked which technology would be important in future conferences and events, and their answers might surprise you. These were their top five:

Some others that have gained a lot of media hype didn’t make the cut, including holograms, heat maps of foot traffic, artificial intelligence and robotics, and facial recognition software.

But it’s not just about technology.

It’s easy to focus on technology alone because there’s always a new Bright Shiny Object to capture our attention! But events are changing in other ways as well – as meeting professionals predict about the nature of sessions:

That’s just a small sample.

Anyway, that’s just a small sample of the research and resources you’ll find in the 2018 edition of “The Future of Conferences”.

So go ahead – please download it!

Download Now

And, of course, you have my permission to share it far and wide with colleagues and friends in the MICE industry. The more we all learn about how to be fit for the future, the more useful and compelling we can make our events.

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