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Meeting planners should learn how to incorporate new technology into their meetings – or risk losing their audiences.

Continuing education is an increasingly important need for adults. We are all challenged to simply keep up with the constant advance in business practices and must be regularly updated to remain competitive in our work.

Meetings are a place where we can learn from speakers and from each other. “Death by PowerPoint” is the often used joke heard at meetings referring to the most misused computer software ever made. However, when used properly, computer visuals can increase retention and assist learning. The challenge to presenters and meeting planners will be to insist on using technology effectively with increasingly sophisticated audiences. Page after page of text won’t cut it whereas, pictures, simple graphs and key words will assist the learning process.

One of the best ways of engaging the audience is through audience participation. Web 2.20 technologies are allowing us to have our voice heard on blogs, online videos, social websites, online user ratings of hotels and much more. We expect to have our voices heard online and this will carry over to meetings. Audience participation will be increasingly demanded of speakers and meeting planners from savvy attendees who want their say and realise the value of the wisdom of the group.

An example of how this can be achieved is web-based audience polling designed for mobile phones and other mobile devices. Soon, people will be able to vote on issues quickly, accurately and anonymously by simply using their web-enabled phones.

The video conferencing experience at meetings has been enhanced due to continuous improvement in HDTV (high-definition television) and telepresence technologies.

Although the traditional name badge still works in terms of networking, Web- based networking tools and proprietary networking tools are improving ways of finding people with common interests at events. Two of these are SpotMe and nTag.

Finally rich-media copies of presentations allow delegates to pick up missed sessions, review those they liked, or even remotely attend a conference from thousands of miles away. We can only be at one place at one time, fortunately such technology exists and has improved significantly over the last few years to enable such details to be placed on the internet.

Technology – we either love it or hate it. either way, embracing new advancements into your plans can reap significant rewards

Source: Meeting & Incentive Travel Magazine, February 2008, Original article written by Corbin Ball, a professional speaker, consultant and writer focusing on technology for the meetings, events and trade show industries.

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