It’s no surprise that meetings have drastically transformed in recent years, adapting to technological innovations and aligning with shifts in business philosophies and the global work culture.
As we venture toward the new year, Stonewall Resort’s Robin Poling and Shelley Gutta explore 2024 meeting trends they are seeing and how they shape our collaborative endeavors.
2024 Meeting Trends: Here are 8 We’re Excited About
1. Generative AI
Generative AI is adding another layer of depth to the modern meeting. It’s not just about passive participation but interactive engagement, where AI helps simulate scenarios, predict outcomes, or even role-play potential business situations.
For example, A tech firm’s team gathers for a product brainstorming session. Their challenge: devising new features based on market trends and user feedback.
How Generative AI helped:
- Preparation: After analyzing market data and feedback, the AI suggests several innovative product features that match current trends.
- Real-time Visualization: During discussions, as features are debated, the AI instantly projects potential market reception and user responses, allowing for informed decisions.
- Post-meeting Analysis: Post-discussion, the AI provides a summarized report highlighting the most promising features backed by data-driven predictions.
Generative AI transforms traditional brainstorming into a dynamic, data-validated process, making meetings more efficient and outcome-driven.
“We are seeing how Generative AI bridges the gap between imagination and reality in our meeting rooms,” Robin says. “It’s exciting to see, and we predict more and more companies will be utilizing the technology.”
2. Embrace Virtual Attendance
While face-to-face meetings are preferred for many reasons, virtual attendance continues to rise. A recent survey by Airgram found that 49% of respondents attend hybrid meetings, and 26% attend mainly online meetings.
For a higher opportunity for participation, offering virtual attendance is a ‘must-do.’
Consider the following:
- Use a dedicated video conferencing platform. This will ensure high-quality audio and video, as well as a variety of features such as screen sharing, chat, and breakout rooms.
- Create a virtual agenda and program. This will help attendees stay organized and informed and make it easier for them to navigate the event.
- Provide opportunities for virtual networking. This could include virtual lounges, one-on-one meetings, or group discussions.
- Offer virtual support. Ensure attendees have access to a dedicated tech support team to help them with any issues.
Shelley says, “In today’s interconnected world, ensuring that everyone can participate, irrespective of location, is not just an added feature but a necessity. By embracing virtual attendance, we’re catering to a wider audience and fostering a culture of inclusivity and adaptability.”
3. Soft Skills Spotlight
Technical prowess is no longer the sole focus.
Meetings now emphasize soft skills like emotional intelligence, active listening, and effective communication.
These skills are paramount in ensuring meaningful and productive interactions, irrespective of the medium.
“In the digital age, our most human qualities make the most significant impact,” Robin adds.
4. Personalization at Scale
Personalized meeting experiences, facilitated by AI, are becoming the norm.
Whether it’s custom content recommendations, adaptive agendas, or even mood-aware background settings, meetings in 2024 are tailored to cater to individual preferences while managing large-scale participation.
For instance, consider a global sales summit with attendees from various regions and product specialties.
A personalized approach would mean that each participant, upon logging in, receives a tailored agenda highlighting sessions most relevant to their region and product line.
They’d also get content suggestions, like whitepapers or case studies, in line with their professional interests, ensuring every attendee feels seen and catered to, enhancing their engagement and overall experience.
Shelley says, “True personalization doesn’t generalize; it recognizes and celebrates individuality, making each participant feel like the event was crafted just for them.”
5. Customer Experience (CX) Revolution
In the landscape of 2024, meetings are no longer static presentations. Particularly in sales and client relations, there’s an evident shift towards a more holistic approach that prioritizes the overall customer experience.
- Beyond Data: While figures and facts are essential, meetings now emphasize storytelling and narratives that resonate on a more human level.
- Customer Feedback Integration: Rather than waiting for post-meeting surveys, real-time feedback mechanisms are embedded, allowing for mid-course corrections and instant validation.
- Immersive Product Demos: Using augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), product demos transform from being informational to experiential, letting clients ‘feel’ the product.
- Empathetic Communication: Meeting facilitators are trained not just in product knowledge but in emotional intelligence, ensuring conversations are both informative and empathetic.
Robin notes, “In today’s competitive market, a meeting isn’t just a transfer of information—it’s a carefully curated journey. It’s about understanding the client’s needs, desires, and emotions, and intertwining them with our offerings to create memorable and impactful experiences.”
6. Wellness and Mindfulness Breaks
The emphasis on employee wellbeing has remained strong and will continue well into the future.
At Stonewall Resort, we go one step further by taking it outside. We believe nature has an immense power to rejuvenate, inspire, and foster connections. As such, we infuse as much outdoor time as possible into our meetings.
Whether it’s a brief meditation session, a guided mental health check-in, or a quick walk outside, modern meetings prioritize the holistic wellbeing of attendees, recognizing that a sound mind boosts productivity.
7. Asynchronous Meetings in Distributed Workspaces
As global collaborations increase, conferences grapple with accommodating diverse time zones.
Enter asynchronous meetings: sessions that enable attendees to engage at their convenience, ensuring no one misses out due to scheduling conflicts.
Integrating Asynchronous Elements in Conferences:
- Pre-Recorded Sessions: Offer presentations that attendees can access anytime, breaking time zone barriers.
- Discussion Boards: Facilitate ongoing dialogue with forums tied to each session, allowing attendees to engage and converse flexibly.
- Networking Windows: Provide multiple networking opportunities, catering to various time zones, or use platforms for attendees to schedule chats based on mutual availability.
- Feedback Opportunities: Allow continuous feedback on sessions, helping organizers stay responsive and dynamic.
- Daily Summaries: Curate end-of-day recaps, letting attendees catch up on significant moments or discussions.
Robin says, “Incorporating asynchronous elements is not just about time zones but valuing each attendee’s unique schedule and contribution, making events truly global.”
8. Inclusive Collaboration Platforms
As the digital workspace diversifies in 2024, meeting tools are evolving to ensure every participant feels valued and included.
Features Elevating Inclusivity:
- Real-time Translation: Bridges language barriers, allowing seamless communication.
- Closed Captioning: Assists not just the hearing-impaired but also aids in clearer comprehension across accents.
- Accessible Interfaces: Designs cater to visual or motor impairments with features like high-contrast modes and easy navigation.
- Customizable Content Display: This lets users adjust fonts and layouts for comfort.
- Diverse Emoji & Avatar Options: Ensures participants feel seen and represented.
- Feedback Channels: Invites suggestions for continual improvement in inclusivity.
Shelley emphasizes, “True inclusivity in tools is when every user, irrespective of background or ability, finds it intuitive, representative, and empowering.”
Meetings in 2024 will be not just about collaboration but also about how businesses harness technology, emphasize human skills, and cultivate rich experiences for both employees and clients.
As we journey through this year and beyond, it’s exhilarating to witness the evolution of meetings as dynamic, personalized, and value-driven entities. Needless to say these 2024 meeting trends are exciting to see unfold!