Society is undergoing some sweeping transformations today.
Conferences and meetings face radical disruptions as attendees integrate mobile devices and personal expectations for authenticity, participation, ROI and documented proven value.
Meeting and event professionals cannot afford to keep their heads in the sand and ignore major culture and societal shifts. These changes are creeping into the traditional meeting and upsetting the fruit basket. Counting coffee cups, assigning room sets and preparing standard excel sheet schedules will not suffice.
Savvy meeting professionals must also now deal with WiFi bandwidth issues, strategic event positioning, content curation, audience participation techniques, remote and face to face audiences, social media marketing and engagement, and sophisticated audiences that want a fully integrated social-sharing experience that starts online in advance of the meeting and continues online after the meeting.
Every meeting professional should reconsider their basic beliefs of what makes a successful 21st century meeting professional in light of these changes.
Seven Skills Today’s Meeting Professionals Should Adopt, Develop and Foster
1. The Risk Taker
Meeting professionals should not wait for direction from others to take initiatives. They should consider 25 percent of every event as an opportunity to experiment and take risks. Demonstrate to attendees that taking risks is ok because people learn from experimenting and failure. Attendees will trust you more when they know you’re being authentic and willing to try new things for them.
2. The Visionary
It’s time for meeting professionals to be both detailed-oriented and visionary. They need to see the potential in Web 2.0 tools and how they can enhance a face to face experience. They need to see how their customers’ world is changing and what topics and trends could impact their futures.
3. The Leader
For years meeting professionals have been the followers, only reacting when supervisors requested it. It’s time for them to be the leaders within their organizations as well as lead their customers to where the world is moving.
4. The Adaptor
Change is the constant today. Meeting professionals should not get stuck in routines that a conference must always be run the same way it was in the past. Instead they should adapt to changing environments, four generations attending their meetings and new technology tools.
5. The Communicator
Some meeting professionals have not been eloquent at diplomacy and communication. It’s time for them to be fluent in current communication tools and know how to artfully articulate conference format changes and upgrades. They should also be able to facilitate, entice and moderate various 21st Century communication tools like texting, Skype and social networks.
6. The Learner
Many meeting professionals learned the basics of logistics and then closed the education door. Savvy meeting professionals realize that learning is a lifelong process and have made a commitment to seeking new knowledge and its application. Our world’s landscapes constantly change as do our customers. Unless we keep up with the trends, we will become fossils of the past.
7. The Collaborator
Acting independently in a networked world is a mistake. Collaboration with coworkers and colleagues outside of your four walls is imperative. Today’s online tools allow collaboration to happen in real time quickly and efficiently.
What skill would you add to the list? Which of these skill do you think will be the most difficult to adopt and why?