People meet every hour, of every day, somewhere in the world.
We, in turn, help facilitate this coming together of people and minds … ideas and advancements. Our work unites people who know each other well and people who haven’t even met yet. We facilitate the collaboration of those who share a common passion or expertise, want to tackle an important issue from different sides of the table, or are looking to create a breakthrough.
We do this across cities, countries, and continents, all without hardly blinking. As meeting industry professionals, we take this all as a given—it’s simply “what we do”! But it is pretty amazing if we stop and think about it.
Creating an environment for knowledge sharing is one of the true legacies of our industry and work. The end-game is to build knowledge and connections that live on long after our meeting, conference, or event is over. If we think of ourselves more as knowledge brokers than planners, buyers, or doers alone, we can play a more strategic role with our clients, companies, and associations.
Here are a few examples of where knowledge and experience is ripe for the picking and where we can build access to more learning and doing—and, in turn, make our events more memorable and valuable.
As destinations, venues, planners, convention bureaus, and economic development offices, we have a great opportunity to connect our attendees to the best local and global expertise available. Think about your next set of meetings and how the destination—and the people in it—can serve as a source of content and learning in the industry of your delegates. For example, if an audience is packed with automotive and design gurus, certain cities (in Germany’s case, Stuttgart and Munich) allow you to steep attendees in all things car related – from expert speakers, to museum tours, to research lab visits. If you don’t know where to start, ask the CVB, a venue, or hotel and build it into your site-selection process early on.
As important as it is to share smarts, giving your delegates truly unique experiences while they are in a destination can also spark inspiration and new thinking, and build team work. Indoor skydiving, ropes courses, test drives on a professional grade track, wellness programs, interactive walking tours, local music and cultural events, iPad scavenger hunts and more can really liven up a program and get the mind and the blood flowing. Try to build one hands-on, surprising element into every program you do!
Best practices for creating more sustainable meetings can and should be shared more freely across our industry. How do you leverage more sustainable venues, F&B, and conference centers? How do you reduce paper and create less emissions? The goal is to reduce, reuse, and recycle, and it’s the leading sustainable countries, including Germany, and leading sustainable venues and suppliers around the world that can help bring this to life at your meetings. Ask your destinations, partners, and vendors to share their green practices and offerings and then promote these to your attendees and tell them how they can help. The more we all embrace and understand how we can contribute to a more sustainable world when we meet, the better.
These are just a few ideas and I’m sure you’ve got many others on how we as an industry can be knowledge and experience creators! Drop me a line on LinkedIn to share your thoughts on this topic or any others, any time.