Shuli Golovinski, Industry Pioneer and CEO of Newtonstrand Innovations, shares his view of the meetings industry future:
I see the meetings and events industry already changing and it has been for some years.
It’s just that sometimes we are not recognising the changes or incorporating these changes into our own events.
The next few years are most likely to see the need for major changes, particularly in relation to the format of how meetings and events are run.
The main reason behind these changes, and the need to look at how we run our conferences and meetings, is with the introduction of younger generations into our events.
If we look at the younger generation already attending our meetings, we can see that they want to use more digital technology and social media at events. This trend will continue if you start to consider the next generation (Generation Z) and what they will need from events.
Events 1.0 were our first type meeting or congress with industry speakers presenting to the audience - the whole education format was thoroughly planned out for the event. This used to be exactly what was needed for a previous generation who wanted to sit and listen to the education planned for their participation.
You can compare this to when the Internet was introduced (web 1.0) with a large amount of information readily available for us to learn from.
Events 1.0 developed into Events 2.0 where we introduced more delegate networking and interaction, supporting the educational programme. Compare this to web 2.0 with the introduction of social media, blogging and interaction.
Events 3.0 recognises the need for changes in our current meetings format to support the younger attendees just coming into our industry. They already want to be active participants, contribute to the programme and decide for themselves who they want to meet and network with.
As more of this Generation Y (born between 1981 and 1999) and then Generation Z (Millenials) start to come into our industry, the format of meetings from what we have known in the past will become very different and noticeable changes will be needed to keep the focus, attention and interest of these younger delegates.
Think about typical networking and coffee breaks during breakout sessions at a conference. Although they allow people to network with eachother, they are not long enough to allow attendees to have significant exchanges.
Of course we already have events and exhibitions with pre-scheduled meetings and hosted buyer programmes where delegates can arrange meetings with suppliers, but there is a need to move on to a more structured networking format at all events.
Attendees should be able to choose who they want to meet with before an event (whether supplier or industry colleague) and then have a structured networking time with a pre-set meeting during the event.
Take another example of the need for change whilst looking back at Events 1.0 above with industry speakers presenting their knowledge and ideas to participants. This has progressed to some extent with the introduction of interactive voting and audience participation tools.
However, to satisfy the needs of the younger generations we need them to get involved and take an active participation in education. An ‘Open-Stage’ at an event will allow all delegates the chance to book a speaking slot in advance and present on an industry topic of their choice.
The scary thing is that now some of these delegate speakers know more or as much as the industry expert, but they have a different point of view on a subject and it is worthwhile listening to them!
The younger generations of meeting delegates will play a major role in re-shaping our industry, format of meetings and bringing a whole new direction to it.
As an industry we need to start to address the needs of these younger generations, stop running events in the way that they have “always been run” and look out for the changes required and put them into action. Then the meetings and events industry will develop into what it was always destined to do.
With a Microsoft background, Golovinski is the heart and soul behind Newtonstrand, a technology software solutions company, which is now celebrating its 10th successful year in the business.
Through his books and speaking at several events about the trends and future of the meetings industry, he is keen to spread the word about how industry delegates need to keep up with the changes to be able to move forward.
Golovinski, a meetings and events pioneer, has been steadily working to help revolutionise the meetings industry for 15 years. With a Microsoft background, Golovinski is the heart and soul behind Newtonstrand, a technology software solutions company, which is now celebrating its 10th successful year in the business.
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