We’ve been saying for years that mobile technology, and meeting apps in particular, has changed the workspace—essentially, it’s now a mobile workspace. The way that we meet and work with one another has changed drastically in the last handful of years. We’ve all gone digital. When’s the last time someone told you to put your phone away at a conference?
But what this means for meeting planners is that we’re having to adapt to the new ways that people work and learn and meet. Increasingly, the motto for savvy event professionals is interaction. Rather than expecting attendees to just sit and listen, encouraging them to participate is the best way to ensure that the meeting or conference stays productive and memorable.
And there’s no better place for that than the mobile workspace.
A Whole New Level of Conversation
There’s a stigma around people with their faces tipped down to their phones. But with the amount of utility in every smartphone, those bowed heads may be a sign of an engaged participant rather than a checked-out, bored attendee.
Online networks and messaging, including Facebook, Slack, or Twitter, are great ways for attendees to take notes, share their thoughts, and discuss the meeting with their peers. These are conversations that are happening in conjunction with the official meeting minutes, and allow attendees to absorb information as it is presented to them.
It’s important for event planners to help centralize those additional conversations around the meeting. Consider, for example:
- Official hashtags, keeping all the attendee-generated content in one place
- Speaker-led discussions/Ask-Me-Anythings (AMAs), before or after their session, allowing attendees to familiarize themselves with the information and clarify concepts
- A dedicated meeting app, keeping discussions and documents private to the enterprise and allowing attendees to refer back to the speakers, learnings, etc
- Lists of additional resources that attendees can use, shared over official channels
New Opportunities for Connection
While face-to-face interactions are the most highly regarded method of communicating and networking, it’s certainly not easy for everybody to do. For event planners, the difficulty is in making sure that as many people as possible feel comfortable enough to engage. The mobile workspace helps lessen social shyness by opening up avenues of virtual interaction in addition to in-person interaction.
There’s a lot of ways that you can use the mobile workspace to help attendees spark virtual connections that will lead to productive relationships and conversations. Some ways that this can happen are:
- Encouraging attendees to interact before the meeting, either through social media or internal messaging systems, can help attendees connect more easily in person. PCMA Convening Leaders 2017 did something similar, which they called BrainDates
- Making sure there are safe spaces for discussions, such as externally hosted platforms, forums in the meeting app, or a Facebook page, will encourage attendees to engage in conversations
- Interactions can continue in virtual spaces post-event, allowing attendees to build on the connections and conversations they made
The mobile workspace has changed the way that event planners have to think about attendee engagement. It’s not a movement away from face-to-face connections and conversations. Instead, the mobile workspace, and mobile technology more generally, opens up new opportunities for us to take attendees and attendee experiences to new levels of interaction and communication.
Do you have any thoughts on how the mobile workspace affects event planners? Tweet us @QuickMobile, or leave a comment below!