When it comes to meeting strategy, just about everything’s changing—right down to the agenda.
It starts with the education sessions, where, in many cases, interactive Q&A formats are replacing traditional, single presenter lectures. Next, new-look breakout sessions allow attendees to steer the content so that their actual priorities are addressed.
And the ratio of education to networking is shifting, with a larger emphasis on networking. People always go to meetings with a few key questions. You need to make sure they come away with answers. Sure, those answers could come from a formal presentation. But more likely, they’ll come from other attendees, so boosting networking opportunities is a must.
It’s not just the meeting tracks and workshops that are getting an overhaul. Meetings are layering in new networking, gamification and social activities, and planners are thinking more strategically about when and where to schedule them. People definitely need a break, especially at meetings that have a lot of content to take in. It’s important to provide time for peer-to-peer engagement in order to promote those connections.
Social activities are becoming shorter in duration and more relevant to meeting content. But that’s not to say there’s no fun involved. They’re just more likely to be scattered creatively throughout the agenda, as opposed to manifesting themselves as full-day outings with little connection to the main thrust of the meeting.
However, the balance among hardcore business sessions, networking opportunities and social events can be a delicate one. An internal meeting is a platform for making connections, and most attendees want to feel like their connections were made organically. So don’t over-program the schedule—you could take away key opportunities for participants to meet-and-greet on their own. It’s all about finding the right mix.
Author: Robin Lickliter – Passionate about life, big ideas, fashion, food & 4-legged kids. Fascinated by social media & self-expression. Kickin' it daily as SVP, Events @sparksmarketing