Let's not even talk about going to the gym more, getting the right number of hours of sleep each night, and pushing away from the Buche de Noel—despite all our good intentions, we just know those resolutions won't last past Valentine's Day.
So instead let's make some resolutions that will make the meetings industry, and hopefully meetings themselves, slimmer, healthier, and more joyous places to be in 2012. Here are a few off the top of my head (in no particular order):
1. Make meetings smaller. I know, we all like to brag about attracting thousands, tens of thousands, scads and scads of people to our events. But if you want to actually get something done, form real bonds, and really learn from each other, give me a small meeting over a monster mash any day.
2. Adjust the session length to what that session needs, not what slot is available in the schedule. That doesn't mean cramming in more content, but right-sizing each session so those that need lots of discussion time and followup can have it, while those that would be best served by a Pecha Kucha format can do just that. PCMA plans to do this in January at its Convening Leaders conference, and I can't wait to see how this works in real life. The concept, IMHO, is awesome.
3. Teach your teachers well. They may know their subject matter cold, but if they're not also experts in facilitating learning, all that content expertise will likely go to waste.
4. Engage the senses, get interactive, wake up your audience to all those wonderful things you're trying to let them in on!
5. Allow for some downtime, some blank space, some time to take in, assimilate, and apply what people are learning. Why we just shake our heads and laugh ruefully about how the best conversations take place in the hallways without trying to make them an even easier, more organic part of a conference, I've never understood. Give them social objects they will enthusiastically focus their learning around, talk with each other about, make them think about how to apply what they learn to what they do.
6. It's OK to have fun. Really. I know this is a deadly serious conference about X, and all those Y participants are very, very important people. But the keyword is still "people," and people who laugh together, learn together.
7. Do well by doing good, be it reducing your meeting's carbon footprint or finding a way to give back to your meeting's locale. There are so many great ideas out there at every price point that there's really no excuse for not doing at least something to make your meeting a greener, better world citizen.
8. Find a way to include your virtual audience (and yes, you likely have a virtual audience whether you planned to have one or not). Unless everyone signs confidentiality agreements on the way in the door, at least some of your participants will be tweeting and Facebooking and whatever else social-networking your conference, even for the most decidedly non-hybrid of meetings. Accept it, embrace it, and help those not in the room get at least a taste of what the on-site goodies are from your organization's point of view.
9. Have a plan in place going in to a meeting to deal with any possible PR fallout from a meeting. This goes for both hoteliers and meetings managers. Just think how much less ink "Muffingate" would have gotten if both sides could have instantly countered the perception with the reality of what that $16 muffin was all about? How much less a hit this business would have taken from the so-called "AIG Effect" if we had been able to explain a boon from a boondoggle from the get-go?
10. Free WiFi for all, everywhere.
I could go on, but I'm in a post-holiday daze at the moment and need to go replenish my blood sugar levels. So you take the reins—what's on your list?