While businesses continues to go paperless, so do meetings. We've already thrown away poster boards and cardstock in exchange for electronic reader boards, we've seen online registration and surveys become increasingly available and user-friendly, and even electronic sales kits are becoming the norm. These concepts are all evidence that technology is truly changing the way we meet.
The latest trends come in the form of social networking. While I'm sure you're mostly aware of these trends already, have you thought about how they might affect your meeting? Social networking is on the rise and comes in many different forms -- Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, to name a few. Organizations can create their own Facebook groups and gain support from "fans." Companies can log on Twitter, sharing news and information on events. LinkedIn has become a somewhat virtual business card or resume, facilitating networking via the worldwide web by sharing basic professional information.
Along these same lines, the constant advancements in applications to the smartphone (specifically the BlackBerry and iPhone) are connecting people to their meetings from afar. They can check into their hotel, register for an event, take a survey, or participate in social networking with peers at the event before they even arrive or even during.
Point being, study your audience and think about how you could improve your meeting by taking advantage of these technological advances. Maybe you'll want to create a Facebook Group for an upcoming incentive trip or "tweet" hints for next year's sales meeting. As these new tools become more and more popular, it's important for planners to start really think about how to best use them for their needs and events.