Throughout 2015, we’ve interviewed some of the brightest minds in meetings and conventions to empower the PCMA community with insights into the future of face-to-face and digital engagement. Before the year comes to a close, here’s a look back at five of the most memorable quotes you can use as you outline your strategy to elevate the attendee experience at your organization’s next gathering.
1) “When you think about trade shows today, it shouldn’t be about how you’re going to fill the space. It should be about how you’re going to create that metaphysical space in people’s minds where new possibilities can emerge.”
— Marc Pomerleau, Director of Strategy, FreemanXP
When Pomerleau thinks about designing trade show floors and convention spaces, he doesn’t think about selling square footage or filling ballrooms. Instead, believes in looking at face-to-face gatherings as opportunities to fuel new ideas and new connections.
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2) “Attendees are going to do what works for them. We need to embrace it and make our meetings support them rather than resist it.”
— Claire Smith, Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Vancouver Convention Centre
As meeting professionals and suppliers look ahead to 2016, Smith stresses the importance of recognizing that attendees want a convention center environment and a programming schedule that gives them the freedom to think, learn and interact on their own. What does that mean for meeting design? It’s time to break up with the rigid approach that asks them to learn at a certain time, sit in a certain room or discuss a certain topic.
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3) “Meeting professionals often under-utilize their speakers. It would be great to see more organizations ask to take better advantage of the speaker’s on-site time.”
— Tim Mathy, Partner, SpeakInc
That 45-minute general session keynote speech may provide a big dose of inspiration, but Mathy recommends that meeting professionals maximize their speakers with additional programming time. From post-keynote Q&A sessions to C-level, invite-only events, he highlights that there are many opportunities to elevate the attendee experience with more intimate conversations and more one-on-one access to experts.
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4) “You should not give a 40-minute presentation. Instead, you should give four 10-minute presentations.
— John Medina, Ph.D., Developmental Molecular Biologist, Affiliate Professor, University of Washington/Seattle Pacific University
The meetings industry has been struggling to break with the tradition of talking heads for many years. Still need evidence that it’s time to consider shorter sessions and speeches at your next conference? Well, there is scientific proof to back it up. Dr. Medina highlights that research shows the brain is better conditioned to digest information in 10-minute chunks.
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5) “We want to create an unexpected context for our participants. By putting people in new scenarios, we believe we can make it easier to get to know people sitting next to each other.”
— Antoine Roy-Larouche, Director — Collaborative Experiences, C2 Montréal
There’s a reason that C2 continues to pop up in headlines as the conference of the future: because the organizers are redefining what it means to “network.” While every conference wants to deliver opportunities for meeting, greeting and handing out new business cards, creating casual connections is often easier said than done. At C2, though, organizers have taken a new approach to the process with everything from dialogues in suspended nets to spending time in a Cloud of Fog that prevents attendees from seeing each other.
LEARN MORE: It’s The End Of Networking As You Know It
Looking for more memorable quotes from the past year? Click here to check out a wrap-up from some of the biggest names in travel from the Skift Global Forum.