A long, long time ago – like 12 or 15 years – conferences and meetings were held to convey information.
People would gather. Experts would lecture. Pontificators would pontificate. And the masses would learn. Because information was scarce and valuable, the assembled flock would listen and scribble observations. After a few days of learning, attendees would return home with their notebooks full of new ideas and information. The meeting was a success. Bravo!
Then the internet and Google came along. Information was no longer scarce. It was plentiful and easily found. The value of information started to decline. Rapidly.
In 2007 the iPhone was launched. By 2011, all major carriers were selling smart phones and information was not only plentiful and easily searched – it was in everyone’s pocket.
Information in 2015 was so abundant that terms like information overload, infobesity, infoxication, information glut, and data smog emerged to describe the overwhelm felt by the average person.
So … the purpose of holding an event to convey information is officially over. Dead. Kaput.
If you’re preparing to hold a live, in-person conference, meeting, or event in 2019 for the purpose of providing people with information your event will be a failure. A dud. A waste of everyone’s time and money.
The reason you hold live, in-person events today … in 2019 … is to create an experience for individual attendees.
Let me repeat.
Create an experience for individual attendees.
So what does that mean? And what does that look like?
Let’s look at each word:
- Create: To cause to come into being as something unique. Construct something that would not naturally evolve. Produce something that is not made by ordinary processes.
- An: Singular. One.
- Experience: The process of personally observing, encountering, or undergoing something. Something that is special. Memorable. Transformational.
- For: Suiting the purpose or needs of. Intended to belong to. To be used in conjunction with.
- Individual: A distinct person. A single human being – as distinguished from a group. Someone special.
- Attendees: A person who is present at a specific time and place. Guest. Participant.
Let’s put all the words and their meanings back together into full sentence statements. The reason you hold live, in-person events in 2019 is three-fold:
- To cause something unique to occur for the special individuals who attend your event.
- To construct meaning for participants that would not naturally have occurred had they not attended and participated.
- To transform individual members of a group through the encounter with and by belonging to the group.
Or … in simple language … your 2019 conference, meeting, or event should be:
- Unique & memorable
- A transformative encounter
Is your conference still being held with the primary purpose of conveying information?
For the sake of both your attendees and you – I hope not.
This post was originally published on SpeakingGump.com on January 26, 2016.
It has been updated and edited to appear here on ChangeByGumption.com
Communicator, Forrest Gump lookalike, Strategist
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