When we meet face-to-face—across our cities or around the world—something powerful happens. Ideas flow more freely. Collaboration comes more naturally. Mutual commitment can form more quickly. As valuable as face-to-face interaction is, it’s time to take the power of live conferences, meetings, and events to the next level ... to something I call “mind-to-mind meetings.”
In mind-to-mind meetings, delegates and local industry experts not only sync up in conference rooms and congress centers, but also in less traditional meeting places and formats to experience innovation and learning in a more hands-on way: Walking the halls of research centers. Seeing technologies in action at manufacturing and design locations. Discussing new ideas with top experts at think tanks and universities. Combing through historic documents at archive centers or museums. These are the types of hands-on learning experiences at the heart of mind-to-mind meetings.
This approach reminds me of the old adage that compares giving a person a fish versus showing a person how to fish. Few things have more impact than doing, seeing, or learning something first hand.
Planners and destinations around the world that are working together to add this brain-to-brain element to meetings are setting the standards for smarter, future-looking connections and bringing more tangible value and ROI to meeting goers.
Helping to create mind-to-mind meetings has been a priority in Germany for several years now.
Whether it’s exchanging ideas with researchers at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Cologne; touring and meeting with fellow aerospace experts at the Airbus Factory in Hamburg; getting “behind the wheel” of design excellence at the Mercedes Benz or Porsche Museums in Stuttgart or BMW Welt in Munich; or connecting on genetic medicine breakthroughs with academics and research experts in Leipzig, a direct link to innovative people and places helps drive innovation for delegates and the companies, associations, and industries they work for.
Global events like re:publica in Berlin (a conference focusing on digital culture across tech, politics, society, marketing, and culture ), Bits & Pretzels in Munich (a founder and entrepreneur festival), or IATA Slots in Hamburg (a commercial airline forum) are just a few examples of groups embracing the mind-to-mind mentality.
How to Create Mind-to-Mind Meetings
This next level of strategic meetings is increasingly popular and it is doable. Convention bureaus can be great resources and a good starting point to ask for access to expertise and experiences for your delegates in their specific industries. Venues, hotels, and DMCs may also know some of the local, behind-the-scenes places and people in a city or region.
You can also start small and grow your efforts beginning with just one mind-to-mind idea for one meeting, then scale up.
We all want our meeting guests to be full of great new ideas when they leave a conference or meeting we’ve worked so hard to create. Mind-to-mind meetings are one, exciting way you can achieve this.
Matthias Schultze, managing director of the German Convention Bureau, has over 18 years of experience in the hospitality, convention center, and CVB spaces Matthias. The GCB is headquartered in Frankfurt, with offices in New York City and Beijing.