Use These Trends

Panels, roundtables, micro-sessions and other formats are becoming more popular than old-school classroom-style sessions, but time constraints lead to conversations that get cut off while people are still engaged. Case in point: a recent luncheon panel I moderated. The topic was one of my favorites—Rethinking Meetings: A Discussion About the Challenges and Opportunities in Today’s Trends. The problem was we only had an hour for the discussion with three meetings professionals who, like many in attendance, had a lot of experiences and ideas they were eager to share. Social media and technology dominated the hour, but we managed to squeeze in trends that kept coming around to these related biggies: engagement and expectations. You can listen to the conversation here. But I also promised a quick rundown of trends we did not have time to discuss, so here’s my top 10 mash-up, gathered from some of our magazine content, conferences I’ve attended, sessions I’ve moderated and blogs I’ve read. Feel free to adopt, adapt, blend, bend, blog and carry on the conversation.
  1. Brain Training: Brain and learning studies stress sensual learning for retention (moving, viewing, touching, doing, etc.) and the importance of brain health and its role in meeting productivity. Read “Kill Your Meeting Room—The Future’s in Walking and Talking” from
  2. Flipped Learning: Flipped meetings apply new concepts by turning learning upside down. Read more here.
  3. More-ism: The experience economy and travel-savvy consumers have growing expectations including: more service, customized offerings, dramatic venues, bigger productions, flexible seating, pop-up meetings and accessible (and free) technology.
  4. Inspiration Surfaces: Expect to see more doodle-friendly surfaces including walls using IdeaPaint, chalkboards, electronic messaging, etc.
  5. Green Growth: Sustainability practices had a slow start but demand has accelerated. Eco-friendly water stations, bike and scooter rentals, and walkable venues are popular.
  6. Wellness: Healthy attendees are more productive. Incorporate power workouts, morning yoga sessions and energy breaks.
  7. F&B: How can you use the following trends? Brewed coffee, healthy shakes, dark chocolate, local sourcing, seasonal samplings, dispensable desserts, pickled food, food trucks, and farm and brewery tours.
  8. CSR: Social responsibility tops trend lists this year. CVBs have jumped on voluntourism programs, matching attendees with activities that contribute to local organizations while tying into the destination.
  9. Buscations: Busy, stressed professionals are taking advantage of events by combining them with vacation days, extending their stays or continuing on to nearby destinations.
  10. Celebration nation: Symbols, lifestyles and traditions are more important than ever as diverse groups flaunt their national and cultural heritages. Diversity and inclusion, cross-cultural proficiency and leadership, and emerging markets all affect this trend.
You’ll find plenty more in our Ideas feature.