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In the US alone, 1.9 million meetings occurred in 2016, with 251 million meeting participants — and more are being added to the roster every year. Busy meeting planners are constantly challenged with creating attractive events that meet the growing needs and expectations of their audiences.
The strategic use of technology factors heavily into the mix when it comes to engaging audiences, communication, simplifying the planning process, and so much more. Thankfully for meeting planners, there are many technology solutions that can lend a hand at every point in the process, from planning all the way through data insights.
It’s critical to find the perfect event venue, but meeting planners are often juggling a lot of tasks — especially during the initial process. They may not have time to do the footwork it takes to scout just the right spot, not to mention figuring out the best places for digital signage and more.
Planners who are strapped for time and resources can use web-based applications that allow for 360-degree virtual tours, letting them get the full experience of being at the venue without ever leaving the office. This is especially helpful when it comes to nailing down the finer details of what goes where during the meeting itself.
One of the most time-consuming tasks for meeting planners can be managing presentations. Juggling multiple speakers and their presentations can get complicated fast — especially when it comes to managing deadlines, organizing files, and more.
But a digital presentation management system can help simplify that process by making it easy for speakers to submit presentations through a streamlined, automated online interface. It can reduce technical issues during presentations, provide support for different operating systems, add branding elements such as a color palette or event logo, and track speaker stats from start to finish.
In an age of FOMO, meeting attendees have more choices than ever for meetings. But planners can offer a unique solution that attracts attendees who may have committed to other meetings, but don’t want to miss out on the meeting content on offer.
Live web streaming technology breaks down the barriers between meetings and attendees, allowing them to participate from anywhere they have a solid Internet connection. This provides planners a way to not only sustain audiences, but grow them.
Capturing streaming video can also create additional opportunities, like on-demand video or monetization of captured content.
Meaningful and memorable meetings are more than just a one-way conversation. Modern attendees aren’t content simply sitting and listening to speakers, especially with powerful mobile technology in the palms of their hands that can offer a tempting distraction from a boring meeting content experience.
But mobile devices don’t have the be the enemy.
Meeting planners can tap into technology like a second-screen platform that uses mobile devices to directly connect speakers and attendees. This tech can boost engagement by fostering dynamic interactions during the presentation, using the mobile technology to a positive advantage.
Planners can offer Q&A sessions, polls and voting, gamification — and many platforms even offer analytics and reporting that planners can use to gauge speaker effectiveness, audience engagement, and more.
As technology becomes smarter and more powerful, the opportunity to engage audiences through unique, immersive experiences is one that meeting planners cannot ignore.
Audiences are becoming as sophisticated as the technology, and tech-driven interactions like virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, and more can help showcase content, highlight products, and create other engaging moments at meetings that attendees will never forget.
Meeting planners can also tap into the power of intelligent virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa to help attendees during them meeting with things like on-site concierge services, interactive schedules, games, and even directions to the nearest bathroom.
The good news? These types of experiences are no longer budget-busters.
As they become more widely available, it is easier to find options that fit into limited budgets. Planners should work with partners to help them create an engagement that fits both the meeting goals and the spending goals.
Every meeting needs an easy way to communicate to attendees, whether it’s schedule details, directions, speaker information, social media hashtags, or even just announcements. Now, instead of printing traditional signage to use for any of these purposes, planners can utilize the latest digital display technology throughout the meeting space to showcase communications and engage audiences in a more modernized way.
Digital signage can be programmed to display specific content at specific times, which makes it both flexible and automated to address every meeting’s unique needs. Features like custom content design and multiple information sources (like social media hashtags, RSS feeds, video channels, etc.) make signage platforms especially attractive.
The most frustrating, yet most promising, part of event technology for many planners can be the data it generates — so many data points with inside intel on the meeting and its attendees, but it can be difficult to parse usable knowledge from a number of unconnected sources.
But many technology solutions are created to work together seamlessly, allowing data to flow freely between the applications and provide a connected experience. Some offer dashboards, reporting, and other ways planners can visualize their data to gain the insights they need to make better, data-driven decisions and positively impact future meeting strategy.
Technology can help solve so many challenges for meeting planners, ultimately creating a better experience both during the planning and execution, as well as after the meeting is concluded. And attendees who not only benefit from the content meeting planners present, but how it is presented, will be the kind of attendee you see returning year over year.
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