By Liz King, CEO, Chief Event Specialist, Liz King Events
Liz King started her first company in 2010 in the midst of the economic downturn. By sharing content on Twitter, Facebook, and her blog, she gained expertise in the event planning industry and has become a leader and influencer. Named one of the 40 Under 40 Up-and-Coming Event Planners in 2011 by Connect Magazine and 25 Most Influential Event Planners by Special Magazine. She was also awarded the #Eventprofs Most Thought Provoking Blog and People’s Choice Award. This created a platform for Liz to build her business and strong brand even further. Working with clients on events like Earn $100K Summit and S.H.E. Summit Week, Liz helps entrepreneurs integrate technology into their events to better engage their attendees. In addition, she also hosts her own events. As the founder of TechsyTalk and PlannerTech, Liz is dedicated to educating her fellow event professionals as well on how technology can enhance events.
BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND THE MEETINGS INDUSTRY
In the grand scheme of things, I would be considered a newbie in the industry. Having started my career just seven years ago, I have not experienced many things that 20-year veterans have experienced, but I have still seen a lot of change in my tenure. Technology, in particular, has completely advanced in the world and is starting to take hold in our industry as well. As a technology evangelist, I am often asked about the gap between event planning and technology – are we adopting too slowly? Is there really a place for technology in face-to-face events? These are all valid questions and important for our industry to discuss and debate.
For a face-to-face industry, it may seem that technology gets in the way. We’ve all seen people completely disengaged in a room, looking down at their phones as they text, email and take pictures. We are lost in an online world and have very little ability to engage with those around us when technology is involved. It’s a very complicated situation to get people to focus on educational content, making relationships and learning when they have her heads buried in technology. So then isn’t technology really the opposite of what we should be in encouraging at our events?
While many people still believe this, I believe strongly that there must be another answer.
While it is true that technology can be all-consuming for people, it has also proven to connect people in new and better ways than ever before. Consider the number of people who make relationships with event attendees before arriving on site. They are ready to be engaged, and have already started the networking process before the event has even begun. For introverts like myself, technology is the perfect tool to bridge the gap between in-person connections and online connections. Additionally, being engaged in note taking, sharing takeaways on Twitter and using other technology can often keep a person more engaged in the educational content, if things are structured correctly.
So the real question is how do we integrate technology strategically so as not to make an impact? How can we encourage the use of technology to better meet our goals as event planners, while still having boundaries and keeping the focus on in person connections and learning?
As an industry, I believe this is the question we must ask in 2014. How can we use technology to achieve our event goals with the right balance? Being overly attached to technology creates more problems than we need, but believing that technology is the opposite of face-to-face connections is lethal for our industry as well. We must evolve. We must learn more strategic uses of technology. We must educate our audiences and provide easy access to technology, strategic implementation of it at our events and rewards for engaging both online and off-line. This is the key to the success of our industry. For our industry to remain a vital part of the future, we must evolve. I’m incredibly excited to see how we will continue to experiment with technology as an industry and devolved towards a more integrated online and off-line experience.