2015 was a year of innovation and success, a year which saw the launch of an exciting and creative trade event for the Meetings Industry, Connections Meetings. The closed exclusive inaugural event took place from 9 – 12th December in Portugal and brought together 25 professional meeting organizers, 20 suppliers and a number of media supporters and industry friends from various European countries, in Lisbon and the Algarve in Portugal. In this post, Christina Petrova, Buyer Events Manager at Connections Meetings shares more information about this new concept and key takeaways from the event (which was created by Micaela Giacobbe, Founder and Director of Commercial Events for Travel Weekly Group).
Innovation and meetings design
Connections Meetings is a platform that focuses on innovation and meetings design. It offers 1:1 meetings between decision-makers buyers and suppliers in a relaxing environment, taking them out of the conference room and offering unique experiences (such as bike rides, bird watching, walk by the beach, tile painting, jewellery making and cooking classes) that create memories and foster relationships.
The two-day event delivered carefully designed sessions in a beer museum, on a train, during a networking event, to mention a few examples, discussing issues and challenges that event planners meet on a day-to-day basis and offered advise on how these events can be improved for better business results. Education programme was delivered by Mike Van der Vijver, founder of MindMeeting Consultancy and co-author of the book “Into The Heart Of Meetings”, who engaged with the participants in interesting and inspiring workshops and discussions which produced valuable outcomes.
There were three main conclusions derived from the interactive sessions and focused on questions that the participants had:
The first one touched on the importance to prepare presenters. Ineffective speakers are a classic case when meeting design intervention is necessary in order to make the event more engaging and more productive. In order to avoid disappointment, it is important to review the speaker’s presentation/agenda in advance and if necessary suggest more interactive ways to deliver that presentation.
Improve successful events even further
The second topic of discussion was focused on areas of improvements in events and how we can improve a successful event even further. The answer to this question is – by introducing experiences.
Mike Van der Vijver explained that people don’t remember without emotion, and every emotion is created by an experience. Most importantly, experiences foster building closer and stronger relationships between people, and this is applicable in a business environment as well. The result leads to business relationships that create opportunities for successful partnerships.
Lastly, an interesting discussion was dedicated, unsurprisingly, on technology. While many event planners believe that technology is the unequivocal tool that makes an event successful and creates a “wow” factor, event professionals agreed that for millennials, for instance, technology is something normal, not a luxury, not a “wow” generator.
Technology surprises us every day with its creativity and innovation, reaching highs that humanity never thought would have been possible. Technology though isn’t the one and only factor dictating whether the event is successful or not. Young people don’t ask about technology at events. They find notepads and smart phones as essential in order to share with communities. What makes an event successful however is the experience they are sharing, the learning outcomes and the creative thinking behind the event’s design that they will spread the word about.
We live in a sharing economy where we share ideas, opinions, expertise, emotions and this creates a community of professionals who know their peers better, connect with each other better and know better who they want to partner-up with in their businesses. Sharing economy is not a trend, it is the present and the future, and this is rooted in the philosophy of Connections Meetings as a revolutionizing event for the meetings industry. It is a philosophy that has proven its validity and will continue to do so as it encourages creativity and thinking “outside the box”. Alternative venues, fun activities, enriching sessions engaging audiences are only a few examples of factors shaping a successful event in a sharing economy world.
The next edition of Connections Meetings, which will be held in Malaga on 29th May – 1st June, will again discuss how meetings design can improve the events we organize and will focus on trends and most importantly, on meeting professionals’ own experiences with their events, and will look into how to make these events better to meet companies objectives and clients/participants’ expectations.
Pictures by Connections Meetings