If past experience is to teach us anything, it would be that some trends are fads destined to be here today, gone tomorrow, while others are irreversible paradigm shifts. A perfect example of an irreversible trend is the onslaught of technology on our lives, this pervasive wave has percolated into every orifice of our existence and those that recognise this are fiendishly working to bend it´s properties in their favour. Another trend that is becoming more and more prevalent in the events industry is the introduction of Wellness activities into the programs. As the profile of conference and meeting attendees becomes more health conscious, there has been a shift from sitting for long hours listening to endless PowerPoint presentations, to creating dynamic platforms for interaction and random meetings.
The recent crop of Buyer and Seller conferences such as the M&I Tour De Mice Forums are designed to take people outside of the conference room and make genuine connections whilst enjoying the dopamine rush of cycling up a mountain range with a like-minded group. Of course, cycling may not be your bag, there is a range of other activities to choose from, the most important thing is to find activities that bond delegates together around a common interest.
Many companies feel that if the conference is not continually pumping information down the throats of the delegates then they are simply not adding value. In his ever popular TED talk Sir Ken Robinson says that as we get, older many of us are educated out of using our bodies effectively until they just become a means of transport to get our heads to meetings.
The time has come for us to read the trends and bend them in our favour because the word on the street is that there is just as much value in the chat over the 15-minute coffee break than in the embedded knowledge sitting on those PowerPoint slides.
More outdoor activities
Companies and conference organisers should give their delegates that outdoor feeling and not be afraid to look for venues and experiences that take people outside of a city and into the more rural areas.
A Little Less Conversation
Companies should not view “down time” in a program as a waste. Anytime outside of the conference room itself is the golden opportunity to create some lasting moments and relationships for delegates. This time could be harnessed and combined with some carefully structured activities aimed at promoting the “C” word that is the Nirvana of our industry CONNECTION.
Here are some of the activities we have used to great effect in some of our conferences:
- Group Tai Chi Class
- Group Yoga Sessions
- Early Morning Walk
- Early Morning Hike
- Group Spinning Class