Event Management

10 Non-Tech Event Trends for 2014

Skift Take

10 Non-Tech Event Trends For 2014*

Julius has published his 10 Event Trends for 2014. This is becoming an annual event in its own right, Julius knows his onions and people take note. Event Manager Blog is mostly about event tech, this is the focus of the trends.

In one of the comments, John Nawn wondered what a non-tech list would look like.

Non tech event trends

Here’s my list, it’s based on the work we do at Live Union, the client briefs that come into the agency, conversations had, events attended, things read. It’s based on gut instinct, not science.

Tech will only get one mention – right at the end, in the small print.

1) Audience in Control

Today’s delegate expects to have a choice and demands to have a voice. In 2014 we’ll see more fluid event formats, structures that respond to audience needs, that cede power both in advance and on the day.

2) Connexity

The guys at Velvet Chainsaw rightly believe that the thing most delegates crave is connexity: connections and community. In 2014 we’ll see networking shift from a segment of an event to something that is embedded into every part of the delegate experience.

3) Fresh Formats

Hacks, Camps, Hubs, Jams, Wonderwalks, new event formats are bubbling up everywhere. 2014 will be the year when many nascent formats go mainstream.

4) Collaborative Working

Events will continue the shift from being about information exchange to participative learning, this will effect how spaces are configured, who is chosen to run sessions and ultimately deliver greater value for audiences.

5) Facilitation to the Fore

As events focus on greater audience collaboration and experiment with new formats the role that facilitators play will be vital. Expect top notch facilitators to be in short supply in the coming months.

6) The TED Effect

In recent years it’s been hard to get through a conversation about events without someone mentioning TED. A hugely welcome effect of TED has been a general uplift in the quality of presentations.

Expect to see this trend gather pace in 2014 – short, interesting, well structured and delivered presentations with great visuals. The bar is being raised – speakers, you’ve been warned.

7) Venues and Content Collide

More collaborative events and more creative formats mean greater demands on venues. The days of dark hotel basements are thankfully on the wain. In 2014 the best venues will re-imagine the spaces they offer and take a more active part in conversations that help us design dramatic new formats.

8) Make a Difference or Disappear

WPP taking a stake in the company behind The World Economic Forum in Davos is evidence of the incredible value of action orientated events. As publications such as the Economist and Wired become ever more serious about their events expect to see a new breed of highly influential agenda setting conferences.

9) The Fun’s Back

During the great recession having fun at events became taboo. In 2014 we’ll remember that people engage more deeply when they have a smile on their face.

10) Talking Events

The quality of conversation about events has improved massively in recent years, my highlights in 2013 were Event Manager Blog, Velvet Chainsaw and CK Curates.

Events about events included William’s excellent TechFest and various ISES forums. Notably 2013 saw the publication of the brilliant Into the Heart of Meetings. In 2014 expect to see the discussion about events become even richer.

So there you go,

*Whilst none of these trends rely on technology, they will all be made more powerful, enhanced and accelerated by the continuing merging of live and digital channels and the tech innovations that are making our industry such an exciting place to work.


Jez paxmanThis is a guest post written by Jez Paxman. He is Creative and Strategy Director at event agency Live Union. He blogs here, tweets here and can be contacted here. Submit your guest post here.