How do we make events more engaging?
What sort of events do we find engaging?
While some call for boycotts of events they find distressing, what interests me the most is finding the events to which I'll pay any attention. Frankly, I do not understand how most travel events refuse to integrate livestreaming, basically holding a meeting behind closed doors. Certainly this technique had its role 20 years ago, but given the Internet, shouldn't we demanding a blended approach to the standard brick-and-mortar event?
Another item on my travel event wishlist is that organizers offer more than speakers addressing bland, albeit aspirational, topics. We need healthy debate and discussion. Far too many important topics are left unspoken, or spoken only during the coffee breaks in the corridors between sessions.
I'd also like to encourage more opportunities for self-organization. The events that tire me out the most are those with an agenda crammed from breakfast to late night. Where are the opportunities to create workshops or host informal gatherings? Recently I attended a planning meeting for the World Parks Congress and yes, it was mostly behind closed doors, though I was able to stream a few of the sessions live on my personal Ustream account. But what I truly enjoyed were the long hours we had for lunch that gave me the chance to say to participants that I would happily show them how Google hangouts work. Given the opportunity to be creative, to be clever, participants can use their free time for more than answering personal emails.
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