• Meetings Should be More about Talking, Less About Technology

    FROM THE Fall 2017 ISSUE

We often hear how Millennials love technology. In fact, they don’t know life without it. 

But while these future business leaders appreciate the power of technology to enhance knowledge and facilitate life’s simplest tasks, technology shouldn’t overshadow the important role of meetings, finds a new report by Imago Venues.

The report asks whether the meetings industry is doing enough to inspire this generation, and the resounding answer is no.

Imago Venues conducted the survey of meeting participants and event organizers, who indicated their motivations to attend meetings: learn first-hand from industry experts; develop relationships; and learn something valuable that could bolster their careers.

In fact, most millennials indicate face-to-face meetings—rather than those provided virtually a la technology—are the most effective venues to achieve the goals listed above.

“Social media activity will not necessarily motivate people to attend meetings, but 65 percent of students, 61 percent of delegates and 51 percent of organizers believe it is a good tool for creating awareness,” the report says.

“However, the results show that organizers are not promoting the right kind of messages via this platform. Posting information for its own sake is not sufficient. Engagement is key and sharable content that raises awareness of key issues has a much wider impact with millennials.” Meetings should use technology to encourage creativity and conversations, but that shouldn’t be the main draw or focus, respondents said. 

Rather, content should.

When it comes to content, participants want shorter sessions that offer inspiration, leadership and passion. And choosing the right speaker is key to providing such content, respondents suggest. 

Most of all, meeting attendees want speakers who are passionate and enthusiastic. Second most important is the ability of that speaker to engage the audience, followed by an expert who offers innovation and new ideas.

Our future business leaders don’t consider the technological delivery of information as the most important factor of face-to-face meetings, mostly because they can find information online elsewhere. Instead, they seek guidance on how to grow professionally and personally, and view meetings as the best source. 

“We need to have a stronger collective approach, as an industry, to the objectives of meetings and events; to recognize both the objectives of the organizer and the delegate; and consider whether the delivery achieves both in equal measure,” the Imago Venues report concludes. “Otherwise, we are simply facilitators of a product and not the creators of inspiring experiences that we can and should be.”


With restrictions across the country in a state of constant flux, not everyone is ready to jump back into meeting in person. While some planners are eager to get back to “normal,” the long-term adjustment to new protocols and potential risks make some hesitant to gather.

While wearing masks and social distancing can help keep attendees safe, intentional design choices—such as including natureinspired elements and materials and plenty of plants—can also help calm attendees.


Lansing isn't just the capital of Michigan, but it’s also the central hub for the entire state—literally; it’s located within 90 minutes of 90 percent of the state’s population, making it both eventful and accessible for groups located throughout the state.


I once managed a conference for a group of 100 high-level members of the U.S. defense industry. When I poked my head into the back of the room during the plenary session, I was overwhelmed by the gravity of the presenter’s content.

But even more concerning was that few people appeared to be paying attention. From my vantage point, I could see that 
the majority of participants were on their phones and tablets engaged in everything from social media to email to creating a PowerPoint presentation.