Last week for the meetings industry, all roads led to IMEX in Frankfurt. I have been attending this event for several years and have come away every time with a little more knowledge, a little more insight and a lot of product information about event and venue marketing strategies. However, what has amazed me over the years, is the immense desire of the meetings industry to understand its potential clientele and communicate with them effectively. The IMEX format of pre-scheduled meetings between end users and destination sellers is the ground level interface. However, what really fires one’s interest are the 250-odd education sessions and press conferences that add so much value to this quintessential B2B platform of exchanges, conceptualised and delivered by experts from worldwide. Knowledge, is there to be imbibed.
With influential groups such as corporate event directors and event agency heads coming to do business and make contacts, the content must appeal to these participating groups. People learn how best to craft their messages and ideas. The peer to peer exchanges include discussions on talent, leadership, technology, diversity, collaboration and transformation.
Around 14,000 senior industry professionals meeting and brainstorming over three days is certainly significant and undeniably productive. Carina Bauer, ceo of IMEX Group, said: “There are inspiring ideas ready to be discovered throughout the show, all designed to help you produce imaginative, transformative and sustainable events.”
Networking is an imperative but what really excites one’s imagination is to be able to update yourself with the latest technologies and thought processes to trigger the design, execution and success of business events in the years to come – from the design of unconventional meeting spaces to the use of technologies with superbly interactive mobile apps to the use of virtual reality, augmented reality and other technological tools that boggle the mind with their intensity, creativity, efficacy and wow factor.
The big takeaway from the knowledge sessions for a meeting planner is to nurture curiosity, explore ideas, use your imagination, fuel your creativity, be bold in your thinking and open your mindset to new thoughts. As one delves into strategies for social learning so does one adopt strategies for the effective use of technology to suit your client’s needs. And the ability to traverse the consumers’ minds is the desirable pot of gold at the end of the learning rainbow.
Attention is a very scarce resource. We all know the feeling of getting distracted in the middle of a conference. As a meeting planner, the fight for attention from your attendees will necessitate changing some of the habits we indulge in when organizing our events. Learning must be made personal and involve a gamut of senses to make it impactful and positive. Telling compelling stories is an essential tool to connect with your audience and engage with them closely. All of these help you to get the attention of your target group and keep it. People relate more to stories than they pay attention to facts.
And some compelling stories were told from lands as far away as Mexico, New Zealand, Canada, Morocco, Korea, Greece, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Malaysia, Thailand, Peru and many other destinations from all the continents. To me, the stories were all of great value in essence. What emerged silently was the human element. To come together and create events that will allow each delegate to meet as strangers and part as friends. To know a little more about each other and thus help create a better tomorrow. Meetings are a good way to repair a fractured world. Meetings can heal and repair divisions.
I don’t like chatbots, whether they are verbal or textual in their interface with me. I accept that they cut down personnel costs and streamline human resources requirements when chatbots operate on FAQ mode to interface with clients or guests.
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