This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

September 10, 2014

Trends in Meetings

Recently, Hilton Hotels launched its own version of hotel-oriented TED¨ Talks, called "HED Talks". In "Trends That Will Change Your Tomorrow", a panel of industry experts* discussed important meeting trends. Although this panel took place in 2013, the trends expressed are even more important today.

According to Connie Dieken, meetings and speakers need to overcome Business ADD**. One of the challenges facing meeting planners today is avoiding "Weapons of Mass Distraction". These distractions include cell phones, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, FaceTime, email, and various chat programs.

The solution is the transformation of full-length keynotes to "flash point communications". Flash point communications involve condensing keynote speeches. The purpose is to respond to multi-generational short attention spans. Shortening speakers' presentations will result in more memorable messaging and greater take-home value.

Attendees are also looking for increased interactivity. It will be up to the speaker to include a variety of multi-media activities to keep the audience engaged.

Panelists gave some good advice to meeting planners: Start with the ideal outcome. Think about what the audience already knows and build your conference around what they need to learn. Finally, find a way to define the metrics, so that you justify the investment.

Leverage technology to engage and poll attendees' preferences. Expect technology preferences and communications to change as audience compositions change and people evolve. People value connection with others whom they perceive have value. The ability to connect with people to build powerful relationships remains a key benefit to attendees.

Meeting planners are struggling to balance their diverse roles. Those roles include purchasing agent, content arbiter, and strategic partner. As strategic partner, they must be conversant with the value of the meeting as well as its return on investment.

For corporate meetings: Understand the power of your culture. Make sure that your stories, legends, and history reinforce your culture throughout your meeting.

If they haven't already, wise meeting planners will start working with their corporate and association partners to ensure that their meetings deliver the best possible attendee experience. Meetings must be interactive, engaging, and fun. Plus, they must provide lots of time to build those valuable relationships.

* This panel included Connie Dieken, President, OnPoint Communications, Mark Komine, Senior Vice President, Sales, The Americas for Hilton Worldwide, and Mike Massari, Senior Vice President, Caesars Entertainment.

** Business ADD refers to Attention Deficit Disorder.

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