July 14, 2011 by Jeff Hurt
I am a firm believer that the proper application of appropriate meeting technology is a corner stone of today’s successful meetings and events.
The world has changed. Our customers have changed. Yet our conferences and meetings are institutionalized systems that have remained stagnant.
The following beatitudes are suggested ways to help meeting professionals make the right choices when it comes to incorporating technology tools in their conferences and events.
Buying a new registration system doesn’t ensure you have successful conference registration. It just means you spent a lot of money on a tool.
Putting the right tools in place is important. Sifting through all the available tools is time consuming. Identifying your needs first and then finding tools to meet them is critical.
Providing training on how to use the technology tool is more important than the technology itself. Not providing teaching and support on how to use the stuff equates to a huge waste of dollars on stuff.
Restricting access to technology during conference education session is detrimental. Telling an event participant to abstain from using technology during a session is not as effective as inviting them to use it wisely.
Some conference organizers block the use of smartphones and laptops during sessions because they are trying to control people. Attendees’ smartphones and mobile devices can be valuable learning tools.
Using technology during meetings is not a big deal. Not using technology is a big deal–and it’s time we change our attitudes towards it.
Those that walk into today’s conferences and events come from a world rich in interactive experiences online. They are immersed in a culture that speaks in rapid, flashy, succinct, interactive moments. Their access to information is astounding.
Yet in most conferences, we seem to ignore that fact. We place people in rooms with monologue presentations, boring visuals and hard seats for sixty-minutes or more.
Many conferences still revolve around the idea of a pitcher (the presenters) filling the empty vessels (attendees). The challenge is that the vessels are not empty. They are online, connected and have rich experiences. These vessels need to share with each other. They need an orchestra leader, not a pitcher.
The new “F” word in conferences if not Facebook, failure or that other curse word. It’s fear. Fear of people using technology for something they shouldn’t. Fear of participants knowing more than presenters and organizers. Fear of people doing work instead of listening. Fear of failure.
We provide a major disservice if we don’t spend time teaching our conference participants about good digital citizenship and how to use tech tools.
Collaboration today is critical. Working together is a key component to successful business.
Yet we force conference attendees to sit side by side and never talk to each other.
Today, we can allow real collaboration with real-world experiences. Wikis, Skype, Google+ Hangouts, Google Docs and more allow us to work together with those at the conference and those that couldn’t attend. They provide opportunities to start working on issues before, during and after the experience.
What meetings tech beatitudes would you add to this list? What are some of the ironies and contradictions that most conferences are mired in today?
Hat Tips to Adam Bellow’s Tech Commandments that are encouraging educators to use technology and provided insight to these beatitudes.
Filed Under: Event Technology
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