January
2012: A gaze through the crystal ball
In a recent blog post, Professional Speaker Thom Singer offered his 2012 predictions for the meeting industry. His eight seer-like thoughts compelled us to pass them along with a few thoughts of our own. Hopefully, you will find them as insightful as we did!

Number 1: The industry’s recovery will continue
Now is the time, if you haven’t already, to get ramped up. The estimates look positive and the research indicates more people are likely to attend more events.

Number 2: Networking will remain the main reason people attend trade shows
It’s true. Face-to-face time is what seals the deal and makes the sale more often than not. Whether you are an exhibitor or an attendee, every trade show is an opportunity to meet new people and reconnect with those you haven’t seen in a while. It’s also a great opportunity to hand out business card magnets as a means of setting you apart during the meet and greets.

Number 3: Social media continues to be a hot topic
It seems as if no one can get enough of Twitter™ and Facebook™, so expect breakout sessions and speakers to continue to cover this topic in 2012. To keep ahead of the curve, ensure that any promotional products you do hand out, whether they are tote bags or water bottles, showcase your social media addresses and handles so people can follow and “like” you to their heart’s desire.

Number 4: Conference speakers will become as prevalent as bloggers
Recognition is critical, but being perceived as an expert is even better. It is expected that the overall number of speakers presenting or offering to present will escalate. If you are intending on speaking, ensure you submit your credentials early! And, if you are fortunate enough to be selected, help make your session memorable by encouraging attendees to mark the salient points with bright flag sets.

Number 5: Short presentations will take center stage
TED conferences, with their short and to-the-point presentations, are influencing session times. It is anticipated that we will see more and more 15 to 20 minute presentations. Be prepared to attend a greater number—there will likely be the speakers for them, too!

Number 6: Walk-outs are the socially accepted norm
While considered in the past to be rude, today’s attendees feel comfortable walking out of sessions if they feel it isn’t bringing them value. It also sends a clear message to the presenter, if there is a mass exodus, that the presentation isn’t up to snuff and needs some retooling.

Number 7: Pre-event, online communities will continue to gain popularity
Many attendees and vendors will attempt to network online before meeting face-to-face on the trade show floor. Online communities extend the conference timeline and allow for a longer sales cycle. So, take every opportunity to join the conversation and even send a pre-event gift like luggage tags.

Number 8: Events that go above and beyond will flourish
The devil is in the details, and those events that add value, and take it to the next level will see greater success. Keep that in mind, too, if you are a vendor. Your exhibit and your floor team have an opportunity to go above and beyond, likely increasing sales conversions.

2012 promises to be an exciting year for the trade show industry. These predictions aren’t a promise, but we hope they do come true!

Singer, Thom. “Meetings Industry Predictions for 2012.” Web log post. TSNN Trade Show News. TSNN Trade Show News, 27 Dec. 2012. Web. 28 Dec. 2012.

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