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Event Goals: If You Want Steak Don’t Order Chicken

You get what you ask for.  (Well, at least you typically get what you pay for.)  Sounds simple enough.  There shouldn’t be a lot of room for interpretation there, right?  Wrong.

It’s funny to me how many people tell me that they want “steak” at their event, then go on and order “chicken.”  It’s a strange alignment of goals and objectives with event execution.

Have you ever been to a networking event where there was no actual networking?  Or maybe there were a few minutes set aside for networking during the 2 hour event, but that was it.  What if you are shy and it takes you awhile to warm up?  What if you didn’t read “1,001 Conversation Starters” before the event?  You would probably think the networking (which was supposed to be the whole point of the event) was terrible.

Think about this:  If your event’s top two objectives are 1) Education and 2) Networking, how much time/space and budget are you allocating to achieving these objectives?  If you spend the majority of your resources on paying a speaker to speak and force attendees to sit in chairs rather than interact with each other, what do you think the result is going to be?

Maybe it’s because I’m a huge foodie, but for some reason, most analogies seem to make more sense to me when they are put in terms of ordering at a restaurant.  One of my favorite such analogies comes up quite frequently when discussing the importance of clearly identifying goals and objectives with clients before an event to improve the chances of getting desired results.

The example goes a little something like this:

“If you go to a restaurant and order the chicken, but you really wanted the steak, don’t be upset with the waiter because he brought you…the CHICKEN!”

You got what you asked for, not what you wanted.  This seems obvious, but it never ceases to amaze me how many times the critical step of identifying event goals and objectives and then matching them up with execution is missed or not handled thoroughly. The result is always unmet expectations, disappointment and confusion when actual attendee behaviors and take-aways don’t match up with goals.

Even though there is an entire menu of options for how to effectively run an event that obtains the desired results, the event planner or ultimate decision maker often makes it impossible to get what they want because they don’t align execution with goals.  It isn’t until the event is over and they are forced to sit down and calculate the ROI or report on the effectiveness of their marketing efforts that they realize:

1)  They got exactly what they asked for, but it wasn’t really what they wanted.

2)   Their metrics for measurement don’t line up with their event objectives and provide little useful data.

3)   They didn’t spend enough time on the planning phase and had to make a last minute decision so they just went with what they always get.  (The same event format – the chicken.)

Nobody likes to feel like they waste their time and money on an event that produces disappointing results.  Here are my 5 Tips for Effectively Setting Event Goals & Objectives that produce real, measurable results:

  1. Know what you want your audience to do.  It is important to understand your audience and ultimately what you want them to do or take away from your event.  What is the behavior change that you are looking for? Know what you are trying to achieve and define it clearly.   This makes it easier for the whole team to focus their efforts accordingly.  If you want attendees to network, don’t keep them confined to chairs sitting on their hands for the majority of the event.
  1. Set SMART objectives.  Make sure your objectives are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.  Spell it out.   If your goal is to increase your e-mail contact list, make it a more specific goal of increasing subscriptions to your newsletter by X%.
  1. Expect more, get more.  You aren’t doing anyone any favors by setting vague and easily attainable goals.  According to study by Dr. Edwin Locke, “90 percent of the time, specific and challenging (but not too challenging) goals led to higher performance than easy, or “do your best,” goals.”  The study went on to mention that working toward a goal is also a major source of motivation and that “the more difficult and specific a goal is, the harder people work to achieve it.”  If you are consistently satisfied with the same mediocre results and don’t ask for or expect anything more, you will keep getting the same mediocre results.
  1. Know your target audience.  Are you targeting all attendees with a broad branding campaign?  Or are you looking to reach key players within the organizations attending the event?  Each segment of your audience is unique.  Treat them like it and approach them in a way that appeals to their specific wants and needs.
  1. Track and measure.  How do you know if you got what you wanted?  One of the best ways to get feedback on the effectiveness of your event is to ask the right questions.  In the example of the networking event, ask questions like:  “Did you meet anybody new?”  “How are you going to follow up with them?,” in your post event surveys.  Make sure you change your evaluation metrics to measure against your objectives. If your goal is to measure increases in networking connections, don’t ask attendees questions about what they thought of the food!

Ultimately, I just want everyone to be happy with what they ordered.  At IMT we know that sometimes you need an expert to guide you and make recommendations based on their experience.  We have a whole team of digital strategists who are eager help you navigate the world of social media, hybrid events, trade shows and interactive meetings.

Contact us today to learn how we can help you effectively set event goals and objectives.  Don’t settle for chicken if you really want steak!  We’ll help you make sure you communicate your order clearly.

Creating Interactive Meetings: How to Turn Attendees Into Active Participants

When I look around me, I feel like the world is screaming for more interaction and dialog at meetings and events. (In fact, I’ve been noticing this for years as I mentioned in my first IMT blog post.)  There are too many events where attendees are stuffed in chairs, lined up in rows, and forced to listen to speakers talk for hours on end.  Doesn’t everyone realize that attendees stop paying attention after the first 10 minutes? If they do, then why-oh-WHY do our colleagues continue to tie attendees to chairs in rows for 4-6 hours per day?

(Ok. That might be a slight exaggeration. According to Andrea Sullivan, president of BrainStrength Systems, a company that provides corporate training and learning services using scientific research, “People can listen only so long at a time…After they’ve listened to a speaker/presenter for even 15 or 20 minutes, they need to make a shift to some kind of active participation…”)

The point is, sitting for hours on end is stupid and it needs to stop!

Last month, we helped an association merge their networking reception and general session for 3,000 people into a single event. We developed 10 different interactive experiences that were designed to influence networking, create conversations and connect people to content.  We turned attendees into active participants and helped them create a networking and social media buzz.

A few weeks earlier, we helped another association execute their first hybrid event and create conversations.

Every day, we help event organizers take the bold step of moving away from a world of attendees sitting in chairs in neatly organized rows toward a world where event attendees are active contributors.  We have worked with national sales meetings, all employee meeting, customer events, galas, road shows, trade show booths, expos and many other types of events.

Today, I want to share our proven formula with you so you too can join our army of people trying to change the world of meetings and events. Please take notes and share these tips with your colleagues. You can save us all.

How do we take an ordinary event from Snoozeville to engaging?

Step 1: Identify Goals and Objectives

We start by looking at the goals and objectives of the event. It is important to understand our client’s audience and ultimately what they want them to do or take away from the event.

How often do you ask yourself those questions when planning your events? It sounds simple, but if this crucial first step is missed, all other efforts are futile.

Step #2: Segment the Audience

When preparing for an event, it’s important to know who is expected to attend as well as future attendees who are not attending or are disengaged from the event. Once that is complete, we look at the audience by behavioral type.

This step involves doing some secondary research about trends and challenges. Sometimes we have to get other people involved to learn more about the attendee. Useful information includes your audience’s demographic makeup, learning needs, challenges and job tasks.

Step 3: Identify Constraints & Resources

Some clients have lots of volunteers and no budget. Some have budgets but no people. Some clients have a CEO that needs to speak for 90 minutes. Some have agendas that are “filled up and unchangeable.” Some have spaces that have challenges or vendors or technologies that we have to work with.

At the same time, we look at the resources. Did someone donate 47 monitors? Do you have as much carpet as you want? Is one of the sponsors a large format printer?

Step 4: Brainstorm Boogie

Finally, we get ready to brainstorm.  Our goal here is to come up with simple, fun and smart engagement solutions that match attendees’ needs and behavior style.  Also, we look for ways to pull together a theme that can be carried throughout the entire event.

In this process, we use a set of “engagement cards” that we helped MPI create for their meeting design curriculum.  There are about 50 cards that are extremely useful in getting everyone to contribute new ideas for their meetings and events.  We recommend allocating 2-4 hours for this step. The output of the step is several different ideas for solutions that hopefully map out to satisfy all of the attendee needs.

Step 5: Piece Together the Event Concept. Challenge Assumptions.

In this step, we pull together the event concept, challenge our assumptions and validate budgets.  It’s important that we make sure that our recommendations align with objectives, attendee segmentation and behavioral segmentation. IF YOU DON’T DO THIS THE PLAN WILL FAIL. (Yes, I shouted that!)

When you are compiling your recommendations, here are some important things to note:

  1. Incorporate notes about light, space, sound, digital and structure.  These things matter. For example, if you set the room with chairs in rows — then you are likely not creating space for conversations. In many respects, you literally “set the stage” for the type of engagement your event encourages.
  2. Recognize that not 100% of the attendees will do or be interested in everything that you are recommending.  Please be sure to recognize that and scale appropriately.  (For example, you might not need 1,000 buttons if only 100 people are going to collect buttons.)
  3. For what it’s worth, budgeting can be tricky here, because you are probably coming up with new to the world ideas.  How do you figure out how much a laser maze is going to cost?  Or, where do you get a custom art piece built? Who can make these concepts a reality?
  4. Do you need the 5 star version of everything or will the 2 star version be sufficient?  (Expect future posts on this, as I have plenty to say on the topic.)
  5. Technology is not the answer.  Ever.  Always start with people and process, then get to technology.

Note: For the budget conscious, we packaged our most popular games, interactive touch screens and social media executions into turnkey solutions under our SocialPoint® digital solutions brand. They plug into your event seamlessly and are budget friendly.

Step 6: Propose Solutions to Your Stakeholders

In this step, we find it much easier to get senior leaders to sign off on the concepts.  This works well when you remind them of the objectives and review how the concepts tie to their vision.

However, the individuals that are part of the execution on the stakeholder side are usually much more resistant…because you are asking them to change what they do.  It might be undefined, feel squishy and they might be just plain scared of change.

We get these individuals on board by scheduling smaller meetings with them to review the concept and get their alternative input.  In some cases, they approve the concepts-as-is.  In some cases, they have lots of creative ideas to make it better based on initiatives that they are doing that nobody on the core team knew about.

Step 7: Pre-production Phase

Sun-Tzu wrote that the battle is often won before you take the field.  In my opinion, the same thing is true when you are turning attendees into participants.  By completing the steps above you have already laid out your strategy and won the battle.

So, your goal in this phase is to make sure that nobody unwittingly sends you off course.

Here’s how it can happen.  You will have experienced people doing new things that they might not be good at, or totally understand.  Be sure to allocate extra time in your schedule and keep everyone reminded of your goals and objectives.  IF YOU DO NOT YOU MIGHT FAIL.

Also, beware of executives or other stakeholders that want to make late changes.  Usually a late addition means removing something and adding something the executive thinks is cool…like a chocolate fountain.

Step 8: Onsite Execution

Execution onsite should be similar to what you have seen in the past. Remember to double check that the pieces are coming together as you designed. Allow for extra time during your loading. When you are trying something new like this – be wary of the details – if your room for error is small, details matter.

Step 9: Measurement & Follow-up

We like to do follow-up surveys based on the goals and objectives of the event rather than the logistics.  For example, if our goal was to improve networking – how will we know if we achieved that goal? Setting specific metrics for measurement beforehand is key to evaluating the effectiveness of an event.

One smart person we met likes to ask the following questions: “Did you meet anyone new at this meeting? Yes or NO? If Yes, who was it and how will you do business together?”

Bottom Line

You can save us all from perpetuating the cycle of stuffing people in chairs for hours on end at meetings and events. I need your help!

The steps above outline our formula for turning passive event attendees into active participants.  Of course, there are more details and some secret sauce that we left out. You should be able to get pretty far by following these steps.

Please do me a favor – give this process a try at your next event and share it with your customers and colleagues.  Call me if you need guidance.

Good Luck! We are counting on you!

How GMIC is Using Gaming to Transform its Learning Platform

Next week’s Green Meetings Industry Council Annual conference (Feb 20-23, 2011) sounds like it will be really cool.  They are complimenting the traditional lecture model with an interactive and collaborative games model. From what I understand – the idea is to send attendees home prepared to think strategically about building sustainable events.

To execute this vision the GMIC team is getting everyone to work together to solve problems rather than just listen to speakers talk. The idea behind the event is that you will go home having looked at building sustainable events from several different perspectives. Not only will you have heard about the strategies – but you will have been able to practice them.

Since, I am not really doing this event justice – here are snippets of Paul Salinger and Midori Connolly talking about Game On.


How You Can Participate

[Register here] Obviously you can attend in person. The event is in Portland. For those of you that want to save your carbon footprint (and your greenbacks) there is a FREE virtual pass available. Since, this conference fits with my innovation wishes – I plan to attend online.

I will be looking at  how the organizers are integrating the games, ipad applications and case studies into the event design. I will be happy to share what I learn with all of you.

Tell me about your own experiences (positive or negative) using games in learning. Are other conferences doing this? What is the reaction from the attendees – near term and long term?

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Mission Possible: Why Volcanos, Floods and Snowstorms Can’t Stop Us From Meeting

While natural disasters throw an “unplanned” monkey wrench into the normal rhythm of our events, they don’t have to stop us from meeting.

I have been impressed with the role that event technology and social media have played in events during natural disasters like snowstorms, volcanos and floods this year. Some inspiring and innovative people, like Lindy Dryer from Social Fish, proved that we could create opportunities out of the madness.

Last week at EIBTM in Barcelona, Ruud Janssen and I highlighted a few of these examples and shared some advice with the audience on what they could learn from these events and take back to their own events.

Take a look at the slide deck:

[slideshare id=6011426&doc=20101130crisiscommunicationseibtm2010-101202175245-phpapp01]

Social Media In Natural Disasters

While our presentation concentrated on the events angle, we discovered an amazing open source crowdsourcing platform called Ushahidi in our research. The developers designed a full portfolio of technology to help crisis teams collect, filter and process real time communications from text and Twitter. Then, turn those messages into actionable information that could be used for rescue missions, etc.

In addition, the Ushahidi platform allows people thousands of miles of way to volunteer their time to help in the rescue and recovery efforts. Pretty cool – if you ask me! (Read More)

Bottom Line

We don’t have to let a crisis stop us from meeting. There is a way to create opportunities despite the madness.

What is the most interesting use of event technology or social media use that you have seen to help an event during a natural disaster in the past two years?

Shameless Plug: The slides above were picked by Slideshare editors to be one of 14 featured presentations of the day on Friday, December 4, 2010. Yes, Ruud and I did feel cool!

Disclosure: My Trip to Barcelona was Sponsored by EIBTM.

MTO Summit Chicago: The Wayne’s World For Event Technology

Last Thursday’s MTO Summit had the feel of the Saturday Night Live Skit – Wayne’s World. On one hand, we were in the basement of the Chicago O’Hare Hyatt with a stage that looked like it came from Wayne’s mom’s basement in Aurora. On the other hand, the sessions were highly entertaining – the topics perfect – and the discussions excellent.

If Chris Brogan and Stephen Nold had opened the event by saying “Wayne’s World. Wayne’s World. Party Time. Excellent.” – it would have set a perfect tone for the day. Maybe next time. Here are some of my notes from the event.

Chris Brogan & Stephan Nold @MTOSUMMIT Chicago 2010

Three Parts to Your Social Media Strategy

Social media guru Chris Brogan pointed out that he advises clients to have at least three elements in their social media program: Listening, Connecting and Publishing. Chris advises clients to spend 30-60 minutes on all three elements each day.

I asked some attendees if they were following Chris’ advice – most responded that they are only publishers. How do you stack up?

Community Building the Old Fashioned Way

Mark Ragan of Ragan Communications told the audience how he creates and builds communities around compelling content THEN he creates events. He told us that he did it the old fashioned way – via email. Mark uses Social Media as a brand building tool. Also, he pointed out that you don’t have to create all of the content yourself. You can find great articles, write an interesting summary and share it with your community.

Are you using content to build a strong community all year long?

Mobile Apps Need to Be Open & Integrated

Event organizers that launched iphone apps in 2009 quickly realized that their mobile apps need to be able to work on all phone types. While the iphone is sexy, most corporate attendees are still using the Blackberry. Nokia and Android have sizable installed base, too.

Also, mobile apps need to be integrated with other data and systems that you are using for the event. Most event organizers were exasperated with tech vendors that were not “partnering” with other vendors to create integrated solutions. (Vendors take note!)

Geo-positioning & Wayfinding

While many show organizers cringed at the thought of looking at a venue map on a tiny mobile phone screen, most agreed that “you are here” and “wayfinding” should become part of mobile solutions for events in the future. Wayfinding is the name for giving people directions from point A to point B.

There was a lot of talk about social tools Foursquare and Gowalla and how these type of “checkin” services could be useful for traffic flow, navigating an event experience or encouraging people to visit event sites.

Where Were the Virtual & Hybrid Events?

Virtual & Hybrid events were like Claudia Schiffer on a date with Wayne and Garth – nowhere to be found. Yet, it was clear to most at the event that this technology is something to consider. Mark Ragan even pointed out that he is getting 15% of his event revenue from virtual events. When you are making money with virtual or hybrid events, I think that makes virtual events magically babelicious.

Bottom Line

Just like Wayne’s World, the MTO Summit was entertaining, engaging and full of amazing people and ideas. If I were smart, I would have summarized this entire post in one line: “MTO Summit. MTO Summit. Party Time. Excellent.”

What do you say?

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iPad: It Just Works…But Will It Work For Events?

Today, Steve Jobs announced Apple’s latest product the iPad. For most of us “shiny object people” this was a much anticipated announcement.


Well – Apple products have been known to change the way that we interact with technology and experience life. Look at the iPhone, the iTouch, the itunes store and app store. These things have changed the way that hundreds of millions of people experience technology.

Also as was said many times today by Steve Jobs: It just works. When it comes to technology – everyone likes technology that just works.

What is so cool about the new iPad? Have a look for yourself. Here is a short video from Apple that explains everything.


Will It Work For Events?

Today, at events, we already have event applications built around laptops, mobile phones and purpose built devices. What if anything would the iPad be good for at an event?

Here are some event applications that popped into my head while watching the live announcement:

  • Larger Screen = bigger fonts = easier readability for all types of attendees (like baby boomers). This means that you could create e-versions of your Show Daily, conference guide and exhibitor guides. This would make it very easy to make an event paperless AND preserve your sponsorship revenue.
  • Incorporating Multimedia. There will be a clear opportunity to include multiple photos and video clips from the show floor in the e-versions of the Show Daily. Electronic Exhibitor guides could contain video demonstrations of products. Electronic Conference binders could contain speaker videos. The kicker? If you are recording sessions these sessions could be setup online and available for viewing/downloading on the iPad right away.
  • Interactive Demos. Today – interactive demos can be a challenge to run on the show floor. I think that we will see more and more interactive marketing companies creating demos, games, quizes, etc that get attendees engaged on the show floor (or in the streeet). These apps will help companies capture new leads, qualify them, and feed them into the CRM system right on the show floor. In my opinion, the iPad – as a hybrid of the iphone and the laptop – will be perfect for this type of application.
  • Agendas, One-to-One Appointments, and Personalized Agendas. Did you see the new calendar function? I think that someone will come up with an application for the iPad that creates personalized agendas for attendees, schedules appointments, etc. While the iPad frontend needs to be easy to use – the database, scheduling engine and reporting will be a powerful part of this solution.
  • Corporate Backchannel. With the powerful user interface and portability, I could see someone creating a corporate backchannel application that runs on the iPad. While any device could be used to enter comments into the backchannel – the iPad advantage will be in viewing all of the other comments on the backchannel and privacy. Corporates don’t want their internal discussions tweeted to everyone.
  • Speaker Q&A. I can see iPads sprinkled across the roundtables in a large conference room. Attendees can use them to enter questions for speakers, see what others asked, and maybe even rate/rank them. How cool would it be to rate questions for the CEO? Awesome!
  • Way-Finding. I can see people using the iPad GPS to figure out the best route to their next appointment on the show room floor or to another part of the center or to the off-site event this evening. (Note: GPS may not be accurate enough to find most 3X3 meter booths inside of a hall.)
  • Sponsorship.  There was a lot of screen real-estate for including innovative sponsorships – beyond banners. I am sure we will see some innovative digital sponsorship applications emerge.

A Word of Caution

  • Venue Wifi Sucks. enough said.
  • Devices For Each Person. For the situations where each attendee needs a device – IMO the purpose built device will be a better solution than a mobile phone or iPad type product. Why? The purpose built devices have return-me-now alarms. They have higher adoption rates. They come with private networks. Usually…they come with trained staff that know how to manage the technology across many different user types.

Bottom Line

The iPad is a new platform that will change the way that we experience events. Not necessarily – because of the ways that I suggested above.  I think the iPad’s biggest impact on events will come from showing attendees, sponsors, exhibitors, speakers and event organizers a new way to use technology and experience life.  As people get more comfortable with these new technology experiences they will start demanding similar types of experiences from their face-to-face events.

So – those are my first impressions. What do you think?

It just works….But will it work for events?

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2010 Event Technology Shopping List Presentation

Here is the video from my 2010 Event Technology Shopping list presentation with Ruud Janssen at EIBTM on 1 December 2009.

For those of you stuck outside of the room on Tuesday, I am sorry that you were not able to attend live. Hopefully, this video is an acceptable substitute.

To set expectations – the video is not professional grade. We shot it with my home movie camera. So please excuse the camera position, video quality and the start. We missed the introductions and first ARS questions.

The video is 52 minutes long – so watch it with a fresh cup of coffee and a pastry!

Finally, I hope that you find some usable ideas that can be applied to your 2010 events. Enjoy!

[wpvideo fLHzsmLz]

Special thanks to Maarten Vanneste for operating the camera, getting a decent shot of the presentation and moderating the session. Without Maarten’s help, we wouldn’t have this video to share with you.

Worlds Are Colliding to Create New Opportunities for Events

Yesterday, my colleague Ruud Janssen and I delivered a presentation called the 2010 Event Technology Shopping List at EIBTM. I will post the slides and video soon. But, first I wanted to share some of the thinking that was at the heart of our work.

Worlds Are Colliding

Event Technology Worlds Are Colliding

The digital world and the face to face worlds are colliding and I see several new opportunities emerging for events. Yesterday, we tackled these four new opportunities that have emerged for events to use event technology to transform the event:

  • Extending the Meeting
  • Including More People
  • Improved Interaction
  • New Formats

Extending the Meeting

We have the opportunity to stretch event experiences from 1-2 days to several days, weeks and months. Rather than looking at the meeting as an isolated event – we can look at it as one point in a conversation stream. By using your digital touch points wisely, you can start relationships earlier and change the nature of the face-to-face interactions onsite. Webinars, webcasts, social networks and social media tools are some of the technologies making this possible.

Including More People

The people that come to your event are a subset of your event community. For one reason or another, there are some people that cannot come to your event. It has nothing to do with you, your program, the venue, the destination or the price – they just can’t come. Rather than ignore these “potential” attendees – the technology tools like the backchannel and live streaming help you include them in your event experience.

Increasing Interaction

Attendees are smarter than they have ever been. The gap between the experts on stage and the attendees in the audience has never been smaller. The collaboration tools that we have at our disposal have made it easier than ever to create this interaction. Equally important – there are a large number of audience response keypads, gadgets, handheld devices and mobile applications that put the power in the attendee’s hand and make it easier for you to engage them: Ask questions, collect ideas, vote, etc.

Alternative Formats

We still live in a world where good projects (meetings, marketing plans, etc.) are being cut in favor of better projects. Telepresence and Virtual Events are two event formats that have emerged as viable lost cost alternatives (or compliments) to full face-to-face events. While some face-to-face diehards may initially raise their noses at these two formats – I suggest that you take a closer look. I would prefer that you keep some options in your back pocket and fight for your projects – rather than accept defeat when the finance department and management want to cut your event.

Bottom Line

The collision between the digital world and the face-to-face world creates several new opportunities for events. By framing the discussion in terms of these new opportunities – you can strategically approach technology rather than look at it tactically.

That’s my take – what do you think?

Announcing 2010 Event Technology Shopping List

With hundreds of new event technologies hitting the global events market each year, it can be maddening to figure out where to start and what to use. To help you, my colleague Ruud Janssen and I have developed an event technology shopping list.

On Tuesday, 1 December, we will be presenting our 2010 Event Technology Shopping List to the participants of the EIBTM Tech Hour at 1pm. Here is our promotional video.


Why a Shopping List?

When you are cooking, you combine different types of ingredients to prepare your dishes.  We think that the combination of tech ingredients is what makes the attendee experience great.  The shopping list analogy comes from the ingredients that you need to go get or hire.

Plus, not every tech tool (or ingredient) will be appropriate for your event.  For example, just because you like apples – doesn’t mean that they are appropriate for every dish. The same is true with event technology.

Finally, the shopping list supports my strong personal desire to make sure that each participant in the session goes home with something tangible and actionable for their next event.

How Will We Sort Through the Madness?

Just like a chef preparing a meal for his guests, we are putting the attendee at the center of the discussion. We are looking at event technology tools that:

  • Improve the participant experience
  • Allow you to reach out and connect with more participants than before
  • Allow you to do more for less.

After we assemble the list, then we will categorize and rate the tools. The criteria will look something like the following:

  • Impact on the participant experience
  • Extend the reach and range
  • Cost (relative to others in category)
  • Amount of prepartory time involved
  • Impact on the planner’s design & execution process
  • Global business capability (to acknowledge Asian vs European vs US suppliers)

(Note: This list is still evolving and being refined. Please share any ideas or input that you have!)

Our List of Event Tech Tools?

We already have a list of over 200 event technology tools. This includes the 48 participants in the EIBTM WorldWide Technology Watch Contest that was won by Pathable.

We know that we are missing several others. Soooo – if you have a product or service that you would like to recommend – please tell us about it. We will be happy to include it in our process. You can either leave a comment on this post OR send me an email at samuel_j_smith at

Bottom Line

The motivation behind this project is to create a tool that helps meeting and event organizers sift through event technology. Based on what you can see in this post – what will help you with your job the most?  What are we missing that we need to include in the process and analysis?

I hope to see you in Barcelona at EIBTM in December!

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Thoughts on “Top 10 Meeting Trends for 2010″ Webinar

In August, I took a few digital-days-off to celebrate my 10 year wedding anniversary in Croatia. While I was off-the-grid, Corbin Ball of Corbin Ball Associates and David Nour of Relationship Economics hosted a webinar on the 10 Meeting Trends for 2010. (Watch)

I finally got a chance to watch that webinar this week. It is loaded with links to new technologies that are guaranteed to dazzle your mind and send attendees dancing in the aisles. The data, examples and web links were protein enriched and packed with healthy goodness. The Q&A – which was spread throughout the session — was managed brilliantly. One criticism of the presentation – the Top 10 list was biased toward technology. So, it should have probably been a Meeting Tech Trends List.

The Top 10 Meeting Trends for 2010

10. Mobile Platforms

9. Social Networking Meeting Applications

8. MicroBlogging

7. Social Review Sites

6. Strategic Meetings Management

5. Video Options

4. Telepresence

3. Audience Response

2. Mobile Lead Retrieval

1. Power of Face-to-Face

(Source: Top 10 Meeting Trends Webinar by Corbin Ball and David Nour)

Bottom Line

Now that you are aware of the event technology trends – how will you integrate this information into your 2010 event planning? If you are not sure, try asking yourself the following questions:

1.  Which trends & tools improve my attendee experience and allow the attendee to achieve his/her objectives?

2.  Which trends and tools will help me extend my event experience and create attendee value beyond the face-2-face event? (Before – During – After)

3.  Which event objectives become easily (or cheaply) achievable with these tech tools?

4.  Does my team have the right skills to flawlessly execute the tech at my event(s)? or will I need a good vendor partner?

What Does Your  Crystal Ball Say?

Did David and Corbin hit the nail on the head with this Top 10 List? Or did they miss something in your opinion?  Or maybe they got the trends right and the order wrong?  What do  you see when you look into your crystal ball?

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