A very important question not many meeting planners consider is whether their event puts attendees in a Time Machine?  The corporate event experience is one that has not evolved over the last 15 – 20 years.  But many events continue to put attendees through a similar experience.  Let’s set the scene attendees are all very used to:

  • Arrive at the event and receive name badge and paper collateral material (which will be thrown out as soon as the meeting ends).
  • Sit in the General Session and pretend to watch Power Point presentations while staring at their phone.
  • Struggle to not doze off.
  • Slump deeper into the chair when asked if there are any questions from the audience.
  • Leave the event five minutes early to beat the crowd and avoid filling out the paper feedback form.
  • And lastly, forget everything they just experienced on the trip home as they start thinking about what the next Netflix marathon is going to be.

These examples do not pertain to every event, but the struggle to transform an event from an information session into a fresh, interactive experience for the intended audience is not an easy one.  A lot of event planners have tried to change the perception that their event does not resemble one from the early 2000’s (paper handouts, polling by raising hands, mic running for Q&A, paper surveys, N’Sync playing on the stereo) yet the fact is that many large audience events continue to lack modern options available to run an audience focused event.  While the trend of picking and choosing a few random services instead of an all in one solution that will benefit the attendees overall experience is resulting in a disjointed experience (you want me to download an app AND handing me a paper agenda?).

It is time for Event Planners to see the value of changing the “same old same old” that they are comfortable with but move to adoption of an event that provides attendees a more enriching time.  Sometimes just a venue change will do the trick.  But most of the time attendees are wanting a new experience as everyone values their time more in this very busy world.  It is time to employ solutions that makes presentations interactive, incorporates the audience through live polling, anonymous Q&A and the ability to deliver materials beyond the event by creating pre/post event availability digitally so the important information provided lives beyond the conference.

So take a look at your event from this time machine perspective and see if there are any aspects of your planning that has not changed in the last 10 – 15 years.  As business and technologies evolve so must your event to match the needs of your attendees.  So time to toss out your note pads, flip phone, polling consoles and Zubaz Pants and take a look at solutions that can help bring your attendees into the future of your business. – Mike Theile