Meetings where you meet are the best … obviously

You might know that a few weeks back I asked my LinkedIn connections three questions about the meetings and events industry:

  1. What is the one thing you would like to improve or enhance when it comes to meetings and events in your company to make them even better?
  2. What does experience mean to you?
  3. What made the best meeting or event, you have ever attended, the best meeting/event ever?

We are now at the sum up of the comments I got on the third question (if you want to read the summary of answers for question number 1 and 2, you can read them here and here) … and I can reveal that one single word/answer appeared at all the answers! Can you guess the word?

People, people, people

I can reveal there that the word that resonated through all the comments were PEOPLE. All of the great people who commented on the post said that the people at the event they thought was the best ever was part of making it the best ever event.

And it comes as no surprise since meetings and events are about bringing people together.

This has been more apparent than ever for the last couple of months where it hasn’t been possible to gather for meetings and events due to the Corona virus: People miss meeting people. When we meet in person, we can detect each other’s body language, read between the lines of what is said and feel the chemistry of another person.

And though online and hybrid meetings are here to stay, offline events will remain the best format for co-creation and innovation. Offline events are the only option for meeting formats where you cannot obtain the same results as if held online – formats where the human interconnectivity is of essential value. Trust and chemistry are only really built when meeting in person.

On a side note: Those online events that we cannot “avoid”, need to be designed as an experience, just as you would an offline event.  All events require the same experience design considerations, no matter if they are held offline or online! Just sayin’!

Remember the surprises

The five experience elements are:

  • The experience space
  • The senses
  • Involvement
  • Disruption
  • Communication

Besides the people, the commenters also include the element of surprise in their answers, which makes me so happy as surprise is one of the five experience elements (see box at right) – in my experience design model I have called it disruption as this element covers some sort of break, surprise or the unexpected.

My dear friend, Vera de Haan-van Veen, expresses it so well: “The people, for sure! When you make great connections and have productive and exciting meetings, the event is successful and gives you energy. But…. an exciting venue, destination or surprising element where creativity flows gets the people in the right mindset to be able to make those great connections and productive and exciting meetings. People experience with all their senses, so the setting contributes to this all.”, and I couldn’t agree more.

Experience design is about combining the setting, the people, the senses, the surprises, the involvement and the expectations for the event to make attendees leave inspired, enlightened and wiser than when they came.

That is what our job is all about!

I hope this little series of input from my LinkedIn community has inspired and enlightened you to embrace experience design for your MICE events.

Happy designing!