The 1980s called...
...they want their meetings back.
I had the distinct privilege of doing a breakout session at Connect Marketplace with Jeff Hurt (and we'll revise it for Connect Florida coming up). He has this great little exercise that we tag-teamed where he asks participants to think about words that describe their meetings and then words that describe 2016. Then he asks if we walked into your meeting would we know what decade it was?
It's a rhetorical question, of course, and it does make you think. It works well with the two of us, because my own research shows why the things that worked before, don't work so well anymore. Often, when I give this message, people get defensive. But all it takes is a slight shift in thinking. We don't do very many things the same way now that we did a couple of decades ago, so why do our meetings look the same? It's not that the strategies for client and customer engagement in the 1980s were bad. They were great...for that era. It's a new era now. We need new ways of getting together. People expect different things, not better or shinier things.
The evidence is pretty clear that people want to connect with one another in meaningful ways because they don't trust the voice on the stage to solve all of their problems. In fact, if there is one clear trend across society in the last couple of decades it is the decline of trust. Our innovations need to drive toward rebuilding and cultivating trust. In the coming weeks, I'll be blogging a lot more about what this means, but suffice it to say that it does not simply mean getting better at the old ways of doing things.
I'll repeat for the sake of clarity: It is not good enough to simply try to get better at the things you've always done. You cannot possibly get good enough at the old models to engage participants in the modern era.