Small meetings have become an incredible source of growth and opportunity in the wake of the pandemic. Catering to a group of 50 or fewer participants means you can provide more targeted programming, promote greater intimacy between your audience and stakeholders, and foster meaningful interactions that build trust. This holds true whether you’re conducting a management training or strategizing session, holding a board meeting or focused on team building. Regardless of the use case, small meetings can generate a closer level of connection and engagement to drive business outcomes.
Doing so, however, is not without its challenges. Today’s tech-savvy attendees have higher expectations for the level of production, technology and meeting tools than before the pandemic. Event professionals also face rising related costs, shorter lead times and changing attendee dynamics – influenced by higher anxiety levels and lower, eight-second attention spans.
The growing number of meeting professionals with less than a year’s experience plays another factor. These professionals want to create successful experiences, and having a full-service provider on their side that can provide end-to-end support can make all the difference. Whether someone is a seasoned meeting planner or excited to get their feet wet and deliver their first outstanding program, having the optimal technology support is a crucial part of any successful small meeting strategy.
Read on to learn six ways technology solutions can empower event professionals to create small meetings that deliver a big impact.
1. Create a high-production look
With effective technology solutions in place, you can help ensure that your small meeting feels as significant as a larger conference production. Why does this matter? Coordinating a visually impressive meeting can positively affect audience sentiment and strengthen your programming – which is critical whether you deliver content to 50 people or 500. Achieving this all comes down to smart technology choices. You can take the guesswork out of this process by partnering with Encore. We can help you make the most of your space with aesthetically clean and professional-looking technology solutions. Here are a few of our top recommendations:
- Eliminate room clutter
Create more floor space for seating and eliminate room clutter with a short-throw projector and tension screen. This not only expands your meeting capacity, but also creates a more visually appealing environment for participants. With this consolidated setup, there is no visible projector, cords or cart taking up space and distracting from your programming.
- Use quality audio
Don’t lose opportunities for interaction or engagement by overlooking the importance of high-quality audio solutions. If participants are straining to hear your presenter, they’re less likely to fully grasp or connect with your content. Opt for a compact powered speaker to make sure your message is delivered loud and clear.
- Customize your visual elements
Want to make your meeting more memorable? Take advantage of clever design accents that can leave a lasting impression. Branded screen skirts are a perfect way to do this. They can feature company logos or other designs relevant to your meeting theme to visually reinforce a brand or idea.
2. Elevate the ambiance
When making intentional meeting design choices, don’t overlook the power of color to affect attendees’ emotions. LED lights are an excellent tool for this. They can change hues instantaneously to alter the ambiance of your event and elicit certain feelings in your participants. Simply use an IR Remote or wireless control to change their color on cue.
This budget-friendly solution is also ideal for small accent spaces. LED lights can fit almost anywhere with their 3.5 in x 3.5 in footprint. Another advantage? LED lights use less energy than most other lighting solutions, which can help raise the “green” factor of your meeting. With a range of LED options to choose from, our experts can help you create an environment that inspires everything from excitement and creativity to critique and analysis – all at the click of a button.
3. Increase engagement opportunities
A common theme for meeting professionals, no matter their audience size, is the desire to boost participant engagement. With an event platform, you can provide simple-to-use yet powerful tools that enable participants to connect with each other and your content. Chime Go℠ by Encore is a fully-supported, quick-start event app that equips users with key information – from agendas and maps to forums to Q&A tools – all organized in one hub and branded with your logo. It can be turned around in as little as four working days, which makes it ideal for planners navigating short lead times, and provides an easy, affordable and professional way to add a new level of engagement to small meetings.
With Chime Go, you can elevate the experience for participants with an easy-to-use event site and interactive features like:
- Pre-event and onsite access
- Detailed digital agendas & maps
- Live Q&As/Upvoter
- Real-time broadcasts that enable attendees or presenters to join remotely
- Live analytics to view engagement levels, capture questions asked and more!
Instead of your audience passively digesting content, the event platform’s digital tools can help deliver greater ways for participants to interact with your programming throughout the experience – and directly from their own smart device.
4. Set the tone with music
“Having no music creates a void that you’re not used to having in day-to-day life when you go into public spaces,” says Nick Greene, Encore Product Manager for Audio and Power. “It creates an awkward silence…imagine showing up at a company meeting at 8 a.m. and walking into an empty room with no music. There won’t be the energy.”
Ensure you’re creating an atmosphere that breathes new life into your small meeting with the perfect tone-setting tracks. Encore Music provides hit songs from today’s popular artists, already licensed and ready to play. With hundreds of curated playlists to choose from, select the perfect soundtrack for your meeting to enhance the experience and curate your desired mood. Whether you’re looking for an upbeat tempo to invigorate discussions, mellow jazz to introduce thought-provoking themes, or even a festive dance track to energize your audience after a long day, Encore Music offers a diverse range of creative choices to meet your needs – and without you having to obtain a separate music license as you would with a generic streaming service or bringing your own music.
5. Deliver memorable content
When planning your small meeting, visually enhancing your content goes a long way in helping to make a lasting impression and ensure it doesn’t fall flat. Amplify your presentations – with a minimal impact on your budget – with our self-serve creative. We can equip you with professionally designed PowerPoint template slides with three matching elements: A logo loop, intro video and speaker title. The elements are designed to be used together for a seamless transition but may also be used individually to suit various display requirements.
Have another creative idea you’d like to bring to life? A small meeting doesn’t have to mean limited possibilities. Our team of experienced designers can work closely with you to create stunning graphics and videos tailored specifically to meet your needs and budget — from logos and invitations to custom videos and presentations.
6. Protect against internet interruptions
Whether you need to ensure a speaker’s multimedia presentation works without a hitch or that in-person attendees can download an event app, interruption-free, secure and reliable internet is essential to your small meeting’s success. It’s also become a big part of attendees’ expectations, with audiences now counting on uninterrupted streaming capabilities to multiple devices, including laptops, smartphones and tablets, as part of their experience.
As your strategic partner, Encore provides fast, seamless internet, best-in-class connectivity and extensive technical support to protect against any embarrassing lags and ensure the focus stays on your message.
Dynamic expectations call for dynamic solutions
Gone are the days when small meetings meant reduced expectations. Today’s attendees have dynamic expectations that can’t be met without the right tools. Whether you’re focused on delivering a high-production feel, improving engagement or setting the perfect ambiance, having the right technology solutions in place is key to leveling up any small meeting experience and transforming it from mundane to memorable.
Request a free consultation with our experts to learn more ways we can help you deliver outstanding small meeting outcomes. We’d love to discuss your specific needs and empower you to deliver an experience that connects and inspires.
Every year, Encore surveys thousands of meeting and event professionals about meeting/event patterns and formats, how they spend their money and their biggest concerns. Individually, these quarterly Planner Pulse reports form snapshots of current industry trends. But taken collectively, we can begin to forecast where the industry is headed. Looking at the big picture painted by results from our four 2022 surveys, here are the Top 3 event trends for 2023.
Trend No. 1: Immersive and interactive experiences to engage participants and enhance organizational culture
According to McKinsey’s American Opportunity Survey, 58 percent of the employed respondents in the U.S. have the option of working from home for all or part of the week. With a dispersed workforce, in-person engagement is more important than ever for creating and reinforcing an organization’s culture, training employees and fostering a sense of belonging. Companies aren’t the only ones seeing the need for in-person meetings. Encore Planner Pulse respondents report that, compared to 2019, participants value the in-person experience more and are more engaged with and ‘leaning into’ the entire face-to-face experience (Winter 2022 Pulse).
Planners know participants derive the greatest value from networking/relationship building, education/training and organizational culture-building/enhancing activities (Winter 2022 Pulse). Meeting and event professionals are creating more immersive and interactive experiences to maximize the event return-on experience.
How are meeting and event professionals doing this? Designing events with the end in mind, investing in engaging technology, and collaborating with presenters to rethink how content is delivered.
Reverse-engineering the event design leads organizers to rethink how rooms are set to maximize connection and collaboration, bake more opportunities for networking into the agenda and think about how they can create sensory experiences. Technology, like LED walls and 3D projection mapping, is the easiest way to transform rooms and sets quickly. Event technology platforms that enable live polling and Q&A, can be used to educate and entertain. Challenging presenters to respond to questions about how they intend to engage the audience in the call for proposals is a fantastic starting point for conversations about designing and delivering the most meaningful and relevant content for event participants.
Trend No. 2: More attendees for in-person meetings
In-person events continue to gain momentum. Meeting and event professionals expect in-person attendance to increase by as much as 25 percent in 2023. This is a reversal of a downsizing trend seen last spring (Spring 2022 and Winter 2022 Pulse).
The most popular venues remain hotels (Spring 2022 and Fall 2022 Pulse). Sixty-one percent of planners expect to pay slightly to significantly more on hotel room rates (Fall 2022 Pulse). Sixty-two percent expect to pay more for food and beverage, and 57 percent report they will pay more for transportation (Winter 2022, Summer 2022 and Fall 2022 Pulse). Not coincidentally, these also are the Top 3 areas Planners Pulse respondents expect to see their 2023 budgets increase. Of the planners who say their 2023 budgets are increasing, 80 percent expect an increase of more than 25 percent (Winter 2022 Pulse).
According to Summer 2022 and Fall 2022 Pulse reports, the top technology products and services being sourced this year are standard projection/audiovisual equipment (50+ percent) and streaming technology (44 percent). Top attributes driving the selection of event technology partners are value, technical expertise and service excellence (Summer 2022 Pulse).
Trend No. 3: Inclusive and supportive environments to enhance participant wellness and sense of belonging
Health and safety had the greatest impact on participant comfort levels (Spring 2022 Pulse). For that reason, hybrid meetings comprised up to 30 percent of the meetings held in the first half of last year. (Winter 2022 and Spring 2022 Pulse). Now that people are more comfortable traveling, the number of hybrid meetings represents fewer than 20 percent of the meetings planned for 2023 (Summer 2022 and Fall 2022 Pulse).
It’s not just participants’ physical wellness that’s a focus for planners. They also want to support mental and emotional wellness by fostering a sense of attendee belonging, enhanced by face-to-face meeting. One of the ways planners are incorporating this trend into event design include education and conversational groups modeled on the ‘business resource groups’ present at most major organizations, where participants gather with like-minded community members. They’re also using technology, like AI-powered simultaneous translation and captioning tools, to ensure people with neurodiversity or disabilities have an easier time connecting to the content and enjoying it. And for those who don’t want to travel, hybrid event technology allows everyone to participate in the event, no matter where they’re located.
Technology can also help people connect to each other on a more human level by capturing images and stories and sharing them with participants before, during or after the event. Consider setting up on-site interviews or photography booths to capture this user-generated content. Remember: everyone wants to feel special and included. If you can deliver experiences that deliver both to your participants, they’ll want to come back next year.
Those are the Top 3 trends we’re seeing. How are you planning to make your meetings more engaging, supportive of ESG or inclusive? We’d love to hear about your 2023 events and the challenges and solutions you discover as you move through the year. Click here to download the Winter 2022 Planners Pulse Report and opt-in to future communications to have your opinion included.
Humans are social by nature. We are inherently driven to connect and create moments of belonging. This is where in-person events shine — they satisfy this innate human need while fostering a sense of community. By bringing participants together, you enable engagement on various levels, whether through direct communication, nonverbal cues or even physical touch, such as a handshake with an industry peer. All these factors elevate an in-person event’s programming and how it can activate your audience. But are you missing out on opportunities to enhance your impact in today’s tech-savvy climate?
Leveraging digital capabilities through an event platform can be an invaluable part of your in-person event’s success. By incorporating the platform’s interactive technology, you can better engage audiences, strengthen your programming, and gain valuable data insights to enhance future events. Deliberating whether to incorporate an event platform at your next in-person event? Read on to learn six advantages to doing just that — plus, click the button below to download our free Event Platforms Guidebook and explore even more ways to elevate your upcoming events with a platform’s digital capabilities.
1. Boost audience engagement
According to the Encore Fall 2022 Planner Pulse Report, nearly half of event professionals want to improve attendee engagement at their upcoming events. While this may seem like a daunting task, including digital capabilities can serve as a key way to help boost audience participation. How? They offer exciting ways to engage your attendees.
Event platforms, like Chime Live ℠, are an excellent tool for this. From the get-go, you set the tone for a more interactive experience with its second screen technology. Attendees can participate with your content while it’s being delivered, directly from their own Encore-provided iPad. Whether via chat, virtual break-out rooms, gamification elements or connecting via social feeds, the platform’s experience opens up new opportunities for presenters and attendees alike to engage on a more intimate level than in the past. Chime Live is also unique in the way that it supports choreographed event design, allowing you to focus attendees on what they need to see or do in the platform. Push slides and pop-up interactive polls, Q&A and more — right on cue.
2. Strengthen your programming
When it comes to your event, the more targeted the content is for your audience, the more likely it will resonate and leave a lasting impression. With an event platform, you can strengthen your programming by engaging participants pre-event to check their pulse on topics that will be presented so you can best tailor the messaging. Send pre-event surveys and knowledge checks to assess how much background information to cover, encourage discussions via forums to learn about your attendees’ interests, and even provide helpful resources — including white papers or videos — for your audience to learn from beforehand.
Once your event comes to a close, you can use the platform’s tools to drive long-term engagement and reach. This provides people who couldn’t attend a way to connect with your programming while enhancing the overall experience for those who did. Simply include video content in your event platform’s resource section and choose how long you’d like the media to be available – for many event platforms, you can request that it be accessible 365 days a year. You can also efficiently repurpose and reshare event videos, clips and other digital content via email, social posts or blogs. This feeds your marketing pipeline and can expand your impact by allowing you to reach and engage new audiences even after your event has ended. Another advantage? These capabilities help you maximize your return on investment (ROI). With so many benefits at your fingertips, it’s no wonder that 78 percent of businesses that use an event application say it contributes to a positive event ROI.
3. Grow sponsorship reach
Did you know you can offer more sponsorship packages when your event includes digital components? Depending on the platform, you can add a sponsor banner or enhanced branding, empowering you to deliver additional promotional opportunities. With physical and digital options to choose from, businesses have the flexibility to choose the level of participation that makes the most sense for them, which can increase the ROI of their investment.
As mentioned above, using an event platform can also extend the shelf life of your programming, as your content can be available on-demand after the initial live event has ended. This means that sponsors’ logos and other branding elements will continue to be seen by potential customers. If you’re looking to attract sponsors for your next event, adding these digital capabilities will work in your favor.
4. Enable smarter networking
Meeting and event professionals know that one of the most important elements of a successful event is networking. It’s not enough to just have people in the same room; participants should be able to connect with each other on a deeper level. Utilizing an event platform simplifies and facilitates this process — it can help identify attendees who have shared interests or attributes and encourage them to build strong professional relationships with each other. Event platforms can take job titles, interests, skills, backgrounds and even more customizable factors into account to make sure attendees can learn about and meet others who share similar goals or interests.
This makes it easier for everyone attending an in-person event to find the right person to talk to without having to filter through hundreds of people they have little in common with. Additionally, this digital capability facilitates professional development by helping participants identify potential mentors or career opportunities within their network.
5. Gain valuable data insights
At traditional in-person events, you can track attendance and observe attendees’ reactions to the programming. But you gain more specific data by connecting your audience with an event platform, which features a live analytics dashboard. With this tool, you can track not only attendance, but also participant engagement and event results. This type of functionality can demonstrate how engaged attendees were and even get their responses to the experience via surveys or feedback forms.
Because digital components allow for more interaction during presentations than typical offline events — thanks to features such as polling and Q&A — you can gather streamlined data on participants’ preferences and continually develop more tailored content that speaks to their interests. The platform makes it easy to track all this data and more, so you’re equipped with the insights that will help you craft future events that are even more engaging and relevant to the needs of your audience.
6. Impress participants with great-to-know info
Using an event platform, you can present participants with powerful and important information that is easily accessible. Not only does this add to the event experience for all involved, but it can also empower you with more control over your event offerings than ever before. Feature a detailed agenda, bios on each speaker and even multiple language options to enhance how inclusive your programming is for diverse audiences.
Will your event include break-out sessions? With an event platform, you can include personalized tracks for each attendee based on your specific requirements. Your event platform’s “toolset” can be customized to your needs — simply bookmark potential items you’re interested in offering. These may range from preloaded destination information to helpful contact info to nearby sites attendees may want to check out while they’re in the area.
Incorporating digital capabilities with an event platform
According to the 2022 Global Meetings and Events Forecast conducted by American Express, 73 percent of event professionals are very optimistic about their ability to use technology to enhance the attendee experience.
By leaning into digital components, planners can create opportunities for their events to engage audiences in new and memorable ways with an event platform. However, your success in doing so is dependent on your technology. It’s critical to have a user-friendly platform that can host events on any device — whether desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile phone — and that offers easy-to-use digital features that can breathe fresh life into your programming and deliver your desired outcomes.
Want to explore how to deliver more impactful, seamless events of any size, location or complexity? Download our Event Platforms with Boundless Possibilities Guidebook.
Interested in learning how Encore can elevate your next event through our end-to-end event platforms and strategic solutions? Our experts offer free consultations if you want to discuss your specific needs. We’d love to help you develop a transformative experience for all attendees — so that your events can foster a new level of community, inspiration and connection.
Key findings from the Encore 2022 Winter Planner Pulse
With the world of events ever-changing, staying up-to-date on the latest industry trends is an essential tool for crafting successful experiences. To help ensure your event design, programming and format resonates with today’s audiences, Encore surveys meeting and event professionals quarterly to capture a closer look into today’s event landscape and to maintain a pulse on where meeting event needs are heading.
Read on to learn key insights from our latest survey.
Human connection and engagement are the most impactful values for in-person events
In-person events will continue to increase with each new quarter
Most planners expect their audience numbers to grow this year
This data brings a welcome implication — people are actively interested in physically attending conferences, meetings and other events, making now the perfect time for you to invest more resources into their event design. Get ahead of the curve by ensuring you have the best solutions to deliver successful outcomes.
Six of 10 planners will see budget increases — driven by food and beverage, room rates and transportation costs
DE&I is an important ESG area of focus
Environmental, social and governance (ESG) objectives remain an opportunity in 2023. We asked planners about four major ESG issues to collect feedback on the role they play in event planning. Those issues were: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I), environmental sustainability, social responsibility, and local legislation that aligns with organizational values.
Our findings? Approximately half of event professionals (55 percent) view DE&I as the most important ESG area to consider while selecting venues. This research speaks volumes about how event professionals now prioritize DE&I when making critical event planning decisions.
When it comes to selecting a venue, event professionals regard the other ESG attributes in the following order of importance:
- Local legislation that is aligned with organization values (45 percent)
- Environmental sustainability (45 percent)
- Social responsibility (42 percent)
In terms of choosing an AV/event technology partner, event professionals prioritize the following attributes behind DE&I:
- Environmental sustainability (40 percent)
- Local legislation that is aligned with organization values (39 percent)
- Social responsibility (35 percent)
Insights-led meeting planning for more engaging experiences
Interested in personalized solutions that can help optimize your next event? Request a free consultation with our event experts! We’d love to discuss your specific needs and help you develop a transformative experience that achieves your event goals.