Audience Account Director Jeff Bateman represented Audience at IMEX 2017 (known as “The worldwide exhibition for incentive travel, meetings, and events”) in Frankfurt, Germany. This four-day immersion into the world of meetings and events includes a three-day trade show and the chance to keep current with the latest trends. This is the event for people in the meeting and events industry, and it never disappoints.
This year offered some new touches, including an education day to kick off the conference—called “EduMonday”—and the intention to “live and breathe its 2017 Talking Point – Purposeful Meetings.” Over 9,000 buyers and visitors took part in this event, taking in education, technology, and presentations.
The focus on the purpose of meetings and events—the content and presentation—rather than the destination was a welcome change of pace. In the past, our industry has wowed audiences with spectacular destinations and top-notch hotels—but hasn’t always concerned itself with the details of what happens there.
Also a refreshing part of the “purposeful” focus was two “Be Well” lounges and the creation of “white space” areas to offer a chilled-out, tech-free vibe. Given the bustling marketplace, a genuine alternative and emphasis on self-care was appreciated.
The Thing About Presentations
There is no one thing, of course, but IMEX’s talking point did a fantastic job of setting up Jeff’s “Presentation Strategies” session. Intended to be a “campfire” session of 5-10 attendees, the appetite for content brought in 35 people, all keen to gain insight into how presentations can engage audiences and offer purpose.
Jeff’s session covered the fundamentals of presentation strategies (including the Audience Triangle), the form and function of presentations, and a framework for focus. The group also covered tips on body language—an imperative for anyone who gives presentations.
It was a happy accident to align so closely with IMEX’s focus on Purposeful Meetings, particularly as travel budgets change, travel security is harder to navigate, and the carbon footprint is more challenging to justify. Meetings and events are at an exciting moment of change right now.
So what do organizers do, given the changing needs and capacities for meeting travel? In some cases, we know, meetings are going digital, with live streams and video launches across the globe. Another option? Holograms.
Imagine being able to present—or co-present—from your local office to a global audience: they can see you and hear you, and you can see and hear them. The interactive possiblities are fantastic, and the freedom to engage audiences without having to accommodate travel time and cost is going to have a huge impact on our industry. While the cost of this technology might initially seem prohibitive, it could replace (perhaps even reduce) the usual travel costs for attendees and presenters.
For a taste of what that might look like, check this out. We can’t wait to explore the possibilities.
From the Inspiration Hub: An Idea Shower
IMEX’s Inspiration Hub offered attendees the chance to meet in small groups with experts and presenters, to talk, and to play. In one such setting, the “Idea Shower,” we talked through how the Sharing Economy impacts our industry.
The Sharing Economy has become a pretty big part of how we travel (Uber), accommodate (airbnb), and trade items (Canada’s Bunz) or homes (lovehomeswap). But it seems anathema to business and industry, where competition has been the dominant ideology. As with other parts of our industry, this too seems to be changing.
Rather than competing for clients, experts are now talking about collaborating for mutual benefit, forming new partnerships where access trumps ownership. We’re keen to explore how these new partnerships will enhance and elevate audience experiences.
IMEX 2017 in Frankfurt was a fantastic experience, a chance to meet up with old connections and make new acquaintances. Meetings with purpose, the time and space to be well (and un-deviced), encountering new technologies and ideas—we were thrilled to be part of this experience.