This week I’m speaking on a panel at the New England Society of Association Executives Annual Meeting. I’ll be honest, I’m not entirely sure what the session title is. But I know it has something to do with “innovations in meetings and programs.”
And while I’m not entirely sure of the topic, I’ve got some thoughts on how meetings are changing. Here’s my “high five.”
1. Presentations are shorter. With the popularity of 18 minute TED talks, the days of the 90 minute keynote session are coming to a close. People’s expectations and attention spans are shorter then ever—and TED shows how much information can be conveyed in a short period of time.
2. Networking is more important than ever. We live in a connected world, but it’s often possible to lose that face to face connection. It’s critical for programs to provide ample networking opportunity—while keeping in mind that many people are using the first 15 minutes of a break to catch up on email and texts.
3. End Business Karaoke. There was a time when Powerpoint was a novelty. Now it is an often eye-roll inducing requirement at many meetings. Remember that presentations should enhance what the speaker is saying—they shouldn’t be what the speaker is saying. If someone is presenting by reading their slides to the audience, get them off the stage.
4. Innovate with room set ups. There’s no rule that rooms have to be set “classroom” or “theater” using conventional chairs. At TED Active last year, I sat on a bean bag chair. And still learned something…
5. Connect with the audience. Apps and web sites give an opportunity to keep a connection with an audience long after a program is over—and allow attendees to connect with one another. A few years ago, wi fi was a luxury at conferences, today its expected. The same will be true in the coming year with conference apps.
And if you’re in the Boston area, swing by NE/SAE on Thursday and Friday the 16th and 17th, I promise I’ll be sure of my session title by then.
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