Interactive. Engaging. Collaborative.
Every meeting planner wants these buzz words to describe the environment at their conference, but fueling a high-energy atmosphere is much easier said than done. While there are a number of variables that impact the way attendees meet, greet and share ideas with each other, Professor Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland, Director of the Human Dynamics Laboratory at MIT, believes that there is one essential element that defines successful face-to-face gatherings.
“The key is idea flow,” Pentland writes in a new white paper titled “The Social Physics of Meetings.” “Being exposed to new ideas that can ‘plug into’ your life and that can potentially produce a creative explosion.”
Pentland is no stranger to big ideas, either. He co-leads the World Economic Forum Big Data and Personal Data initiatives, and he is a founding member of the Advisory Boards for Nissan, Motorola Mobility and Telefonica. While much of his work may sound complex, he highlights that creating more energy at conferences is less complicated than one might expect.
“There are simple ways normal people can change their personal habits in order to increase idea flow,” Pentland writes.
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However, meeting planners cannot simply count on attendees to proactively change their communication habits. After all, every planner knows that many attendees are introverts who aren’t looking to jump into every conversation or shake hands with strangers sitting next to them in breakout sessions.
“How many times have you experienced where people automatically migrate to small pockets of familiar people, leaving some out in the cold from the onset?” Pentland asks. “Or shuffle from session to session without interacting with each other?”
Pentland offers some suggestions to eliminate that I’m-here-with-my-friends and I’m-here-by-myself mindsets. From “firestarter” talks to building activity spaces that naturally bring crowds together, the white paper provides some simple tips that meeting planners can adopt — regardless of how much time or money is in the budget.
SEE ALSO: 3 Ways To Make Your Meeting’s Networking Stronger
Looking for ways to inspire everyone in your audience to learn together
? Download the white paper for free from Pentland’s speaking agency, the American Program Bureau, or paste the following URL into your browser: www.apbspeakers.com/whitepaper