For me this is a huge topic for discussion when approaching any meeting or conference, especially with the ever-changing world of technology, and the desire to involve the audience and provide interactive forums.

A personal frustration of mine is seeing an imbalanced approach that results in increased attention, time and budget being allocated to finding the right venue. The result can frequently be the reduction of focus, energies and investment in delivering the messages effectively to the audience.

Naturally, each event has its own specific objectives. Invariably though there are key inputs or outputs that need to be delivered. And the beauty of the venue – which comes with a significant price tag – can sometimes override these essential deliverables.

Aligning the venue to brand and tone of the event is an important part of the event tapestry – from service and décor to values and location. The question is balance.

Time, energy and budget need to be allocated to the delivery of the messages to delegates, or the extraction of quality information from delegates. Rushed PowerPoint slides and questions to the floor frequently don’t cut it. Particularly with an average reported attention span of an audience member at 15 minutes – which sounds generous!

The good news is that the cost of technology continues to fall; meaning options to enhance your conferences are becoming more affordable. There’s no suggestion PowerPoint will disappear overnight; it remains an effective (and importantly, accessible) communication tool to share information on both the small and big screen.

There are so many current ways to connect with your audience from voting handsets and video, to smart technology and experiential activities. Exciting technology which has become more accessible includes projection mapping your presentation onto a blank canvas turning it into a live show, or immersive technology where presenters can control the presentation using body movements and even interact with videos and add comments live on stage. 

The future is full of endless communication possibilities so next time you are looking to host a meeting or conference make sure you take time to align objectives with the delegate journey, and investigate how technology can help drive the results you’re seeking. Without forgetting to book the venue!