IS THERE A SUBSTITUTE FOR HUMAN INTERACTION AT EVENTS…AND BEYOND?

There’s lots of talk out there about disruptive technologies replacing events or at least making events less necessary. Technology cannot be a substitute for putting a group of people in a room and facilitating meaningful interaction at both an intellectual and an emotional level. To quote Neuroscientist Antonio Demasio: “We are not thinking machines that feel. We are feeling machines that think”. While technology has the ability to enhance the process of emotional connection between humans, it will never replace it. And events are the perfect place to create that. Events are all about stimulating the intellect and the emotions. There is one significant way technology has changed the way we should think about events though. The entire universe of human knowledge is literally in our pockets. Your smart phone can lead you to absolutely any piece of information you could possibly want – and lots that you probably don’t want! So events should not so much be about delivering information – but more about motivating and leading people to discover the information for themselves – together. That is a far more effective way of engaging an audience than good old ‘death by PowerPoint’. Given this shift in thinking, it opens up the potential for events to increasingly be extremely powerful tools for business growth. The key is audience engagement at a deeply human level. And that requires a fairly radical re-think about how the traditional conference/meeting is structured. It requires creativity and open-mindedness in the way we design events and it means throwing out some of the old rules and replacing them with some of the even older rules! Technology can be a valuable tool in this process, but never let shiny new things replace the fundamentals of human interaction. That’s what events are all about! Rob Frank is the Creative Director of Award Winning Event Campaign Strategy company, Verve Creative Events. www.vervecreative.com.au
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