Very few of us, given the time to dawdle, can pass up those titles we run across on LInkedIn that lure us into opening articles like “The 10 Most Important Trends That Will Change Your Show in 2017” or “The 15 Trends Every Event Organizer Must Pay Attention to RIGHT NOW!”
Certainly, it is wrong to stick our heads in the sand about changes impacting the events industry, but constantly creating to-do lists of things we MUST do to keep our event businesses healthy can be exhausting.
I go to events of all sizes that are held for all kinds of reason. In the last two months, among others, I have spoken onsite to an organizer running a show for 60,000 attendees in a dynamic industry with the help of a large staff, and to an organizer of a conference for a nonprofit that attracted 200 at the most.
Both organizers feel they can barely keep up. Both say they have little time to think about introducing innovations into their events before jumping back on the treadmill of looming deadlines they must meet to prepare for the following year’s event.
You know you can’t do everything at once, so allow me to help you simplify. The three most significant trends every organizer, regardless of the size or nature of their event, must pay attention to are:
Engagement. A conference program loaded with three-person panels going through their PowerPoint slides doesn’t get it anymore. A massive exhibit hall with one 10×10 lined up after another will not satisfy either buyers or sellers. You must begin to experiment with new ways that your attendees can engage with your event’s content; with new opportunities for your exhibitors to viscerally demonstrate their products and services.
Personalization: People come to events to meet people who can help them, to find information they need and to see products and services that can improve their businesses or their lives. But not everyone comes to meet the same people, find the same information or see the same products and services. What can you do to provide more unique opportunities to more subsets of your attendee base?
Technology: This can be and has been a sore point for organizers and in the past many have felt burned by vendors who have sold them on a technology that could either make their operations more efficient or provide a more positive experience for participants, with little or no guidance on how to take advantage of it. That is changing, vendors have begun to get the message, but many event organizers are still gun-shy. Just as is the case with consumer technology, i.e., smartphones, laptops, etc., technology is innovating and simplifying all the time. Don’t be afraid to get back in the game.
Michael Hart is an events consultant and conference content professional. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, @michaelgenehart or 323-442-9654.No Fields Found.