I discovered a page of handwritten notes I took in 2007 about the future of trade association and corporate live meetings. I cannot find the source of the notes, but I remember it was a telephone conference call. I listened and scribbled notes as the expert on the phone foretold the death of live gathering and the falling need for professional speakers on stage.
The thought was the internet was going to remove the need to gather. Content delivery could be streamlined and education would become a remote experience. I was just beginning my journey as a professional speaker and I wrote "yikes" the margin of my notes. As a new speaker I remember wondering about the opportunities that lay ahead.
Flash forward seven years and the meetings industry is strong. My experiences with association and corporate meetings is that attendees are hungry to make live connections. If content delivery was the only goal then meetings would surely die out. But people want to be part of a community, to be engaged and to be inspired. Live events create "mini-societies" that cannot be duplicated online.
While there are many big changes happening everyday in the world of live meetings, there are also more opportunities than I could have imagined in 2007. It is fun and challenging to be part of the meetings industry, but everyday I am grateful that I get to be involved with hard-working and creative people. Every meeting has the potential to the world, as when people make connections with each other, the outcome can be amazing.
Few people realize how meetings impact the economy, but a 2009 study (spearheaded by the Convention Industry Council) showed there are 1.8 million meetings and conventions in the United States annually and have a $106 Billon Dollar impact on GDP. My guess is those numbers are bigger in 2014.
Below is a new commercial from Meeting Professionals International highlighting the power of live gatherings and how they stimulate economic growth.
The death of meetings and conventions was highly exaggerated.
Have A Great Day
Thom Singer is known as "The Conference Catalyst". He works with meeting planners and conference organizers to set the tone for a meeting. His presentations educate, inspire and motivate attendees to engage deeper in the event and make meaningful connections. http://www.conferencecatalyst.com