Are you in the Meetings Mindset?

Meetings Mindset’s Jonathan Bradshaw asks if we are prepared for the meetings we are attending.

It was Sunday, March 18 2007. I was in Copenhagen, Denmark, at the opening ceremony of the Meeting Professionals International (MPI) European conference. As the music began, indicating the start of the opening session, I looked around and experienced something I’ve never felt before or since. It only lasted a few seconds.

Where was I? Literally, where on earth was I?

I had flown in excess of 200 times in the previous three years, over 30 in the preceding three months and yet suddenly, and without warning, the adrenaline that kept me going seemed to ebb away. A mixture of fatigue and confusion seemed to sabotage my senses as I was left wondering where I was and what I was doing. For a few seconds I recognised no one and had no idea even which country I was in, never mind which association’s conference I was at.

After struggling through the day I contemplated the events in the comfort of my hotel room. I’d not prepared or given the conference a moment’s thought; I’d not looked at the list of speakers or the social programme; I’d not checked the delegate list and identified who I needed to meet; I hadn’t checked in with myself to see how I was feeling and thinking and made any necessary changes to my mindset that could help me perform better. I’d also been eating badly and had limited physical activity in recent months. In essence I’d not prepared, not mentally, not physically and not practically. I hadn’t been curious about the conference and how I could prepare for it or perform at it. That night the concept of Meetings Mindset was born.

Consider for a moment the investment necessary for delegates to attend international conferences. It is likely that the cost of registration, flights, accommodation and onsite food and beverage will amount to several thousand pounds. Whether this is an investment made by the delegate personally or via their employer, in these times when every penny has to be justified in terms of ROI, examining the benefit a delegate gets from attending such a conference has never been more important.

An international seminar that Ground:zero was involved in in Valencia last year was headlined by four keynote speakers. The video recordings of their presentations were combined with their PowerPoint? presentations to produce a seamless web video that was up on the client’s site within days.

One technology development from which many clients have been enjoying benefits is the reducing cost of high quality professional LED theatrical lighting. Now a medium-sized event can have top class lighting previously affordable only for a large meeting. Different lighting can now also be used in unusual venues without three-phase electricity supply and has become more economical and ecological: it consumes one tenth of the power.

In the area of sound, government regulation is about to force change. The government is reclaiming Channel 69 and, from 2012 all licensed UHF radio microphones will be run on Channel 38. This is going to make a lot of equipment obsolete, or at least mean servicing to change it to the new channel.

Many sound mixing desks sold now are digital, rather than traditional analogue units. This technological advancement allows desks to be smaller and can add more features including USB outputs, which can facilitate a very easy MP3 recording of the main mix, something of particular interest to many conference clients.

“My clients value this ability to translate or transcribe the content for reference at a later date,” says independent event organiser Karen Rolfe.

The pace of change is accelerating and, as clients see what can be achieved, it will continue to accelerate and the application of new techniques spread further. Over the next three years we should see significant developments in the way clients and production companies make greater use of the exciting capabilities.

Paul Colston

Author

Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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