Maybe you have already heard of the ‘future of meetings’? At least, I have mentioned it here on the blog a few times. And if not, you will have amble opportunity to learn more about the concept in my new series of blog posts which are all about this subject.
From ‘future of meetings’ to ‘contemporary meetings’
Actually, the term the ‘future of meetings’ is not entirely correct, because we have been talking about this for a number of years already, so we ought to be talking about ‘contemporary meetings’. But so far it has mostly been all talk, so I think it is okay to focus on the future aspect for now.
The term the ‘future of meetings’ was coined back in 2004 when one of Denmark’s public institutions initiated a project aimed at optimizing the many meetings and conference held in Danish companies every day. Maybe they were a bit ahead of their time as the concept never really caught on in the mind-set of the Danish meeting planners and therefore the ‘future of meetings’ remained something of the future.
Getting out of the shadows of the past
When you look at the general meetings or conferences in today’s Denmark, there are unbelievably many PowerPoint presentations – maybe some of the conferences are spiced up a little with a few workshops or a little group work – but overall, we still meet as we did in the 80’s.
- Is it because the average Danish meeting planner is a woman between the age of 46 and 55 years (according to Kursuslex’s annual survey, the Meeting Barometer 2017), so this is the setup she is familiar with?
- Or maybe it is due to the fact that meeting owners do not think there is a reason to change something that works? But how long does it work (if it still works)?
For what do we do when the last of the so-called millennials (people born between 1980 and 2000) enter the labor market and thus become our conference guest?
Would a young man born in 1995, who is attending a conference as part of his new job, like to be trapped in long rows of chairs and listen to hour-long lectures – as shown in the picture above (can it be any more boring??)? I do not think so! No, he wants to be involved, heard and activated, or he will not come back to your next conference. This also applies to generations before the millennials – none of us wants to listen passively for hours any longer. We are all part of the new millennium, so why don’t we bring our meetings into it?
3 ways to update your meetings and conferences
If you would like to join the new millennium too, you could:
- Hold an unconference where the subjects for discussion is up to the audience
- Arrange a fish bowl panel…sort of like the game of “musical chairs” for conferences
- Make a speed geeking session – challenging (in a good way) for the speakers, and giving the participants the opportunity to tailor their own program
There are countless other ways – try Googling one of the three methods above and look at some of the derivative results (some of the methods mentioned above are also found under other names). Only your imagination is the limit!
More to come
These are only three ideas for changing the setup for your meetings and conferences to make them current.
In upcoming blog posts I will look further into the ‘future of meetings’ and let you in on how to design the meeting room, involve your participants etc. to match the prerequisites of the concept.
Meet you…in the future!