Planning for Purposeful Meetings

Planning for Purposeful Meetings

What are purposeful meetings, and how can we create and deliver more of them?

Creating meetings and experiences that are satisfying, engaging, and have lasting positive value is really the ultimate objective for our industry.

We all agree that it doesn’t make sense to bring people together—be it 10, 100, or 5,000+ miles away—if they can’t be engaged, inspired, satisfied, and come away with long-term benefits and learnings.

It’s really that simple, yet really that complicated sometimes.

Learning how to create and host more “purposeful meetings” is something you’ll hear a lot more about from IMEX, and we’re sure others, this year.

Intended as a perennial template for our industry rather than a catchy campaign, the term “purposeful meetings” sums up the spirit of our times: planning with solid outcomes in mind. That means meetings and events created with deeper meaning, innovation, and insight—from the very start.

There are five tangible areas where all planners, event designers, and event marketers can focus their efforts to become more purposeful and to demonstrate a new competitive edge: a better understanding of behavioral science, meeting and event design, creating CSR and legacy opportunities, building in health and well-being, and last but certainly not least leveraging technology. These are drawn from what we’re already observing in the marketplace and by staying in close touch with experts and others in the global events industry who both see and lead the trends shaping our work and our world.

Here are a few thoughts on each to get your own “purposeful meetings” wheels turning:

Behavioral Science. Typical event outcomes such as improved team communication, genuine connection, better decision-making, the ability to influence, enhanced recall, or learning powers can all be managed and measured better with a basic understanding and application of behavioral science.

Health and Well-being. Purposefully incorporating healthy nutrition, hydration, relaxation, mindfulness, and (sometimes) health apps into events can powerfully change results. It also energizes participants for heightened knowledge and opportunity sharing—and gives them useful tips to bring home.

Meeting and Event Design. Understanding how we perceive, learn, and collaborate in different environments and how purposeful design can affect this for the better is a key consideration. Light, air, sound, smell, touch, and even “white space” or downtime can all be managed with intent.

CSR and Legacy. Connection with non-profit organization at events helps to engage attendees with each other and with the communities in which we meet and live. Combine this with a rising passion for sustainability (especially among 20- and 30-somethings) and the impact of “rethink, reduce, reuse, and recycle” combined with the power of connection becomes amplified many times over.

Technology. Technology has changed the way we do business, the way we connect, the way billions of people on this planet experience their everyday lives. It’s enabled more accurate and better use of resources, turned data into innovation, and driven collaboration (witness the sharing economy). Purposeful meetings—and purposeful meetings planners—become even more relevant, valuable, and blessed with “superpowers” with the addition of new technology. Data analysis, artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality, voice recognition, intuitive technologies…even robotics are now all available to the smart planner and even smarter client. What is more, many of them scale easily and, increasingly, affordably. Keeping pace with their technologies, their pros and cons, is very much the mark of a purposeful meeting planner.

Stay tuned for more detail on each of these aspects of the IMEX 2017 Talking Point, Purposeful Meetings. The IMEX team looks forward to hearing your ideas and experiences with your own purposeful meetings when we’re all together again, or at any time! #IMEX17

For practical tips, guidance, and hand-picked meetings and event industry resources every day of the year, try the IMEX Online Inspiration Hub. All stories chosen by a human, not a bot! 

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