4 min read

Technology Takeaways

Key things we have learned over the last 40 years

Key things we have learned over the last 40 years

Event technology has been around for a long time, but only with the availability of the internet and smart phones did it become more mainstream. Hundreds of start-ups appeared, all pushing boundaries and promising new levels of engagement and success at events. It was easy to be carried away on this wave of innovation and apparent progress. But one mantra stands true, and that’s our first Technology Takeaway:

Meetings aren’t about technology, meetings are about people.

Over this period of growth in the supply and demand for event technology, dedicated exhibitions sprung up and new channels and groups appeared. The focus however was on the products and solutions themselves, rather than on the benefits they might provide. Fortunately many have now stopped talking about supplying solutions and instead are talking about building experiences. The focus should always be on the people, not on the products. In other words:

Technology isn’t about building apps, it’s about building relationships.

Adding technology to an event requires planning and forethought otherwise it will never work out as well as it could. The best results we have seen have happened when everyone had the same opportunities to participate and when they could see their contributions were making a difference. To put it another way, you need to ensure what you are going to use is suitable for your audience and that what is produced is aligned with the goals of the event. So the next Technology Takeaway is:

Know your audience. Know your objectives. Then choose your technology.

Technology can add a ‘wow’ to an event - it can both impress and entertain. But in most cases technology should not be the centre of attention; it should instead create the space for things to happen. It should facilitate, involve and encourage participation and it shouldn’t require more effort than the benefit it provides.

Technology can take your breath away, so champion the ones that help you to breathe.

Face-to-face meetings are vital and should not be replaced by technology. Innate skills developed over thousands of years of social evolution cannot simply be supplanted by a virtual presence. Technology can foster isolation and allow people to hide behind virtual masks. Meetings and events celebrate the coming together of people with different skills and views; they provide a learning and development experience second to none. Technology should facilitate this sharing of views in an inclusive manner and be used to bring people together, not to isolate them.

Putting technology between human connections creates toxicity.

Similarly, it’s easy to want everything to flow through the technology you are going to use. You want to ensure your delegates are kept up-to-date with everything happening, and to make sure they don’t miss out on anything. You might create a sense of urgency but you run the risk of restricting the major benefit of the face-to-face meeting: the conversation.

Use technology to start conversations, not to avoid them.

Technology has created an online, on-demand way of living which isn’t really living at all. We are bombarded with information which we readily consume as more and more of us admit we are addicted to our smart phones. Your event technology needs to help achieve the event objectives, not distract from them.

Technology should clarify, not confuse. It should simplify, not overload.

Through the use of technology, a mountain of data can now be generated from every event. Each participant generates information that intersects and interacts with other information. But beware, if you look at the data with preconceptions, you can reach or perpetuate the wrong conclusions. When looking at the results, be open-minded and prepared for the unexpected (you organise events, so that should come naturally!).

If you look for a pattern that isn’t there, you will probably find it.

In summary, technology can really improve and enliven an event, giving attendees and organisers many more ways to communicate and engage with the content. Used correctly it can simplify many aspects allowing all parties to focus on the event itself. It can generate valuable information that can add huge value to the event. But always remember,

Meetings aren’t about technology, meetings are about people.

Would you like to know more about Event Technology?

We love talking to people about events and technology, so please do get in touch if you would like to bounce an idea or two around. We would love to hear from you.

Contact us today for more information.

Back to Blog