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by Matt Alderton | November 20, 2013

Shorter online attention spans, growing social consciousness and increasing diversity are among the broad social trends that will shape meetings and events next year, according to the IMEX Group, which this week made its predictions for the top meetings industry trends of 2014:

1. Changing content: “The incredible growth of YouTube, TED and short, sharp TV and video news clips (including the birth of super-bite-sized Vine) means attention spans are shorter than ever,” IMEX observes. “Four minutes is a lifetime online. Expect meetings and event content to be delivered in ever more entertaining, diverse and digestible pieces.”

2. Employee satisfaction: “The big watchword for our working lives in the 90s and new millennium was ‘work/life balance.’ In 2014 this shifts to ‘workplace spirituality,’” IMEX says. “A growing number of organizations recognize that employee loyalty and motivation hinges on a convergence of personal values with corporate ones … Expect more organizations to embrace happiness as their ethos for growth in 2014.”

3. Convergence and connectivity: “Both will be the next big technology wins the meetings industry strives for in 2014,” IMEX predicts. “Many big technology advances have been made, now they need to be managed … The proliferation of smartphones and ‘wearables’ with their innate ability to capture data will also improve ROI.”

4. Social media saturation: “In 2014 social media starts to receive its own budget, and begins to play a meaningful and measurable part in marketing and communications strategies across the meetings and events industry,” IMEX says.

5. Local volunteerism: “Where once the international nature of the meetings industry meant thousands of opportunities to ‘do good and give back’ in far flung corners of the world, the trend now is to reach out to help those right on your doorstep,” IMEX observes.

6. Economic engagement: “Could 2014 be the year when the meetings and events industry is finally recognized as an important economic indicator?” IMEX asks. “Economic impact studies are now commonplace in at least five mature markets, and they have been rigorously executed.”

7. Workplace diversity: “Demographic shift was once a hot topic for the global meetings and events market, now the big debate of 2014 looks set to be ‘workplace diversity,’” IMEX says. “With so many generations working alongside each other (be it virtually or physically) and issues of gender balance and racial diversity still being addressed, organizations are having to look at their recruitment and talent development strategies with more creativity, and awareness.”


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