I was on a call with some meeting planners this week and they shared with me that meeting attendees want more than they did several years ago.
Delivering Results Counts.
Inspiring Keynotes are no longer enough.
These days people, often with more work to do than ever, are looking for practical advice and tools they can apply to their projects when they return to the office, inspirational keynotes are no longer enough to satisfy the needs of today’s meeting attendees.
Here are some simple steps that can be added to the design of a meeting to facilitate delivering value by sharing best practices that can be immediately applied to current work projects.
- Ask everyone what question, if answered would provide immediate value for a project they are working on in the next 3 months.
And listen to people’s responses! Listening and then sharing these questions, provides a context for the presentations, the content now becomes more social than broadcast (that is the content changes according to new information, see Social/Broadcast Matrix post by Scott Gould ). In addition to the presenters being able to modify their content to the context of the audience (if they are able and willing to do this) it encourages the attendees to arrive at the meeting with their important question top-of-mind.
- Encourage story telling instead of giving advice.
I attend a round table of business owners at the Coleman Center at DePaul here in Chicago. One of the great facilitation techniques Raman Chadha uses is that when one business owner brings a question to the group, the other business owners are not allowed to give advice specific to the situation of the questioner, instead we are encouraged to share our own situations and stories that relate to the original situation. I have found this technique helps the value and flow of the information exchange, encouraging curiosity and respect.
- Be Social to share best practices. (Provide time and space)
Facilitate and/or encourage people to share best practices. Once there is visibility to the questions everyone is asking put aside some time for people to browse other people’s questions and then invite them to introduce themselves if they have a best practice story to share. There is often a wealth of knowledge in the room, in the audience as well as on the stage, you can help people connect by simply requesting that people to keep the conversation around best practices (can be for just one lunch to start – hold off selling, pitching, promoting – and share!)
- Match People who have questions with People who have answers.
The image on this post is from our latest demo, which has a ‘Share Stories’ view designed to this. By collecting information with the specific intent on making these matches, we make visible suggestions of who has valuable information that can help and also who can benefit from your own experiences. Great connectors do this naturally, and we have come across some events that have a dedicated team of people or a ‘networking concierge’ who are specifically tasked with this matching.
See how we do this in our Animated Matching Weave Demo
Inspiration will continue to be of great value to meeting attendees, this is not an either-or proposition! Be inspired and also connect to share our stories so that we can channel the inspirational energy back into our workplaces to deliver results.