Top 7 Trends in Meetings & Events 2018 – Why a Good (Event) Experience should be a Human Right!

18, Sep 2018 | Blog

Autumn is in its second week and a busy conference season has already kicked off. I am privileged to attend events, get invited to speak and I also design youth empowerment events with #Globaldignity. Usually, I go live on Facebook and interview people whom I think have a nice/provoking/inspiring insight to share. Such encounters offer a playground to feel both human and professional, to exchange both emotions and expertise.

I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t want to excel at building long-lasting partnerships and be efficient in decision making. So here is my conviction: any face-to-face meeting is THE source where personal or group innovation and growth happens. I got proof of it last week. In a happy-industry coined as MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) I have gathered 5 trends after today’s Meetings and Events fair at Helsinki Messukeskus. It’s a whole event for event professionals and around 5000 joined as visitors in Helsinki. Read below the compact version of today’s program & find out if you recognize your own pattern of learning and connecting. Inspirations and tips are from various sources including Dr. Rob Davidson’s presentation.

Why must we invest in meetings and events?

Did you know that:

  • 70% of our learning among adults is social that is peer learning among colleagues, collaborators and partners based on experiences, knowledge
  • 20% is self-directed learning through e.g. reading and internet research
  • 10% is formal learning = training. This works in the opposite way for the children.

So, your venue is a place to learn. When planning your next event, keep the space that welcomes networking, a dialogue, an idea exchange, AND with a variety of spaces for privacy. Moreover, Brian Tracy, one of my favorite sales guru advises investing three percent of your income in yourself (self-development) in order to guarantee your future.’

TOP 5 Trends – What makes your Events Successful

  1. Where do you host it? Non-traditional venues are in demand, alternative places like museums, factories, castles, aquariums are a hit instead of conventional conference spots. Today you can also find AirBnB type of event locations in people’s homes e.g.,
  2. What can MICE learn from leisure events? FUN – any event should be fun and a memorable EXPERIENCE. I would add that it is a human right to have it, after all, and we spend many days at conferences, seminars, round tables and it MUST be a human right to have a good experience. Just how many times have we all tried to fall asleep at a conference or feel bored? Far too many conferences and events are done where we found it tiring, uninspiring, and not actionable in our daily lives. The worst of all, it feels like a waste of precious resource: TIME…
  3. What would our event smell like? Use all 5 senses (smell, sight, taste, sound, and touch) to make the best of your event…What if the event was considered carefully and planned as a theatrical production with all the unexpected details and quirky, funky ideas.
  4. How do you treat your participants, merely visitors or engaged users? Engage the users in co-creation, involve in the process, problem-solving, cooking, sensory engaging game, or other gigs. To look at it from another perspective: ask yourself, would you rather sit back and listen or would you rather engage in at the next conference?
  5. Can your event offer culture/travel? Offer short-term travel incentives. Again back to the venue, we all seek travel options close to the venue, so the ability to immerse in one destination (business & pleasure) within a few days will enable for an optimal memorable experience.

New generations don’t want ‘standard’ events; they are tired of the traditional model and want to co-create the content, to engage with more networking and more interactivity. They want to feel part of the event, not a mere spectator. New formats and concepts are growing and these are affecting venues and organizers in a way they haven’t seen before.” The World Tourism Organisation’s Global Report on the Meetings Industry.

6. is AI part of your overall event experience? Apps, wearables, face recognition registration, robotics (imagine of robot bartender serving you a Martini?!) – all is growing fast and it’s engaging and enhancing both the whole UX of the event and the analytics behind it. One person, who poetically can talk about AI in MICE industry is Aivar Laan, CEO & Founder of, which is one of Europe’s top event teams choice for their mobile apps. For example, Mindvalley, an online education company is a known name and runs their events and quest-based learning on festivality’s software. I had a great fan moment right there: as a fan of Mindvalley app; I had a rare chance to meet the person behind the festivality concept. It bore also “a world-is-so-small” feeling.

Another example is a Finnish, an online event management software that stands for “event management made easy.” As a person who has used for registering to several events, I am a satisfied customer and can speak from my experience: this event management is truly delicious: from registration, participant data management, to automatic messages, questionnaires and event reports.

BONUS 7) what is not listed above is the focus on chosen moderators and event hosts…which some may find “but of course, that’s common knowledge” but I want to emphasize it here as I personally find it meticulously important to make any event most personal, engaging & memorable.

To summarize: with these 6 trends it all shows that events are IN and are not only company strategic but important for our life-long learning as professionals but also as humans. On 20th August, I have arranged a webinar to 30 representatives of Uzbekistan’s various ministries representatives, by sharing trends and toolkit to plan and execute events with focus on an international audience.

Together with my co-presenter Aleksandra Bodekhina, our toolkit was based on Finnish successful events (Arctic Startup hackathons, Nordic Business Forum, Slush). All the trends spotted at the Meetings and events conference were in line with our webinar content to the Uzbek audience! For Helsinki, being one of the top 20 destinations for congresses, I am sure we can share this Finnish know-how even further. I encourage everyone to dare people to share emotions, be open to meet unknown people, focus on customer service to secure return business, and build a strategic value to your business for each event held. I also want to make sure that getting a good experience at any event must be a human right and worth everyone’s time.

Book me if you are looking for a moderator, event host, workshop facilitator, and event designer. I moderate events in English, Danish, and Russian.

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