Associations & Events 2020

I had the pleasure of participating in PCMA’s Executive Edge course at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business.  If you have not attended a PCMA Executive Edge program yet, do it.  They are working with the top business schools in the country to bring executive level education to its members.

Half of the day was devoted to discussing vision, and we worked on the topic, “What will events look like in 10 years?”. Here are some of the thoughts:

1.  Social media has created a belief that you can have several thousand people, with common interests, connected without the benefit of a brick building, professional staff, bookstore, etc.  So, it was also a question of what role an association will play in 10 years.

2.  The individual attendee will have voice and choice as it relates to professional education.  Like health care in the future, they will be active participants both pre-, post-, and on-site.

3.  Social media will continue to play a more prominent role.

4.  3D, HD, and other higher quality broadcast technologies will become more prevalent, further empowering non-typical attendees to be able to participate remotely.

5.  Membership requirements for attendance will change.

6.  The current funding models will not support the meeting of the future.  If I pay membership dues, should I also have to pay to attend the meeting?  Will there be more ala carte payment plans?

7.  As the individual has a more active role in choosing what they want, and paying individually for it, how will their expectations of quality change?

8.  Speakers will have greater requirements as educators, and have to engage audiences sooner.  As we are beginning to experience, their presentations will have to be distributed in advance, and the peer-to-peer live learning will be more about the impact of the presentation on the attendee.  The speakers will have to have great depth around the topics.

9.  As education gets commoditized, in a sense, networking will be a premium value of live events.  Environmental design will have even greater impact to improve what exists today.

10.  Mobility will not be a cool thing to have, but will be the primary mode of communication, information, and connectivity.  Individuality in what I get, when I get it, and how I get it will be a differentiator as it becomes completely mainstream.

This was a very healthy exercise, and one that all participants agreed that what we have today would not have been what we imaged 10 years ago.  We would have fallen far short, just as we are probably underestimating the speed of change in these views.

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