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Ed Bernacki on conference design, innovation and ROI

What about conference technology?

Ed Bernacki - Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Conferences 2.0: Taming the beast

Published Successful Meetings magazine, USA

Ed Bernacki explains how meeting planners can use technology to add value to events.

Marc Stoiber was speaking at an environmental meeting. He noticed something about the audience. ‘About 90 per cent of people never looked at the stage,’ he says. Instead, they were speed-typing the content of the speeches into their tweets or blog entries. I was impressed, thinking I was witnessing a glorious mass communication revolution. That was until I peeked over some shoulders and saw what they were typing – posts like, “Speaker says green is here to stay” and “Green is good for business.” A pretty anaemic version of what was actually being said.’

Stoiber continues, ‘Then it dawned on me. These audience members were so intent on flexing their social media muscles that they missed 95 per cent of the message. Technology had turned them into stenographers – and not particularly good stenographers. There was no synthesis, no analysis, no thinking. I’m certain the writers felt they were making a difference. But they were, in fact, adding little more than chatter. And that, I believe, is a problem.’

This is my fear of the current focus on conference technology. It sounds innovative yet I often wonder if we define objectives for using technology. Here is my point: If you want to use electronic tools, make sure it is strategic in terms of adding value to the event.

You can find the remainder of the article at Successful Meetings.

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