The IMEX-MPI-MCI Future Leaders Forum is a special, two-day event during IMEX for about 100 students who plan to start a career in the meetings and events industry.
This year, one of the sessions covered the IMEX annual theme, “Purposeful Meetings – how to plan with deeper meaning, innovation and insights in mind,” and its five aspects (Behavioral Science, Technology, Meeting Design, Positive Legacy and Wellbeing).
Sarah Skavron, the program manager, explained the session objectives: “We wanted to introduce the concept of ‘Purposeful Meetings’ by inviting experts to share their best practices on engaging, inspiring and enjoyable meetings with long-lasting, positive outcomes.”
But they didn’t want to leave it at just that, Sarah told us.
“We wanted to dedicate time for the participants to reflect on the topic, discuss it and finally crowdsource some implementable ideas for their own future events.”
The Tech Solution
“We decided to use Slido to capture the results and new ideas generated during the discussions. Another reason why we used Slido was to ensure interaction throughout the 90-minute session and finally make the results easily shareable with everybody involved,” explained Sarah.
The session was opened by Dale Hudson, the knowledge and events director at IMEX, who introduced five elements of purposeful meetings to the young event professionals. The goal was to give the audience a bird’s-eye perspective on what it takes to organize an impactful meeting.
After the introduction, Sarah Skavron, who also happened to be a session facilitator, invited Juraj Holub onstage to introduce Slido to the audience.
To get participants to use the app and familiarize themselves with it, Juraj ran a series of polls to warm up the audience and also demonstrate the platform’s functionality.
The session then moved to its middle part where each aspect was briefly introduced with some best practice examples.
In 7-minute long rounds, the individual speakers went deeper into the particular elements of purposeful meetings. Once this concise presentation was over, Sarah went back onstage and kick-started a mini-discussion among the participants in the audience.
Logistically, about 100 participants were seated at round tables in groups of 5-7. Sarah told them, “You had a chance to hear the speaker talk about well-being. Now, imagine you’re organizing a conference at your university. In your group, discuss the ideas that would bring the well-being element into your event.”
The groups had 3 minutes to discuss and exchange ideas among themselves. Then Sarah stopped the discussion and instructed the people to submit their ideas in an open poll via Slido with questions such as: “What social and environmental practices can you include at your event?”
This technique allowed participants to share their ideas with the rest of the room and amplify the number of ideas that each participant walked away with.
The ideas appeared onscreen in real-time where all the people in the room could view them and gain more inspiration for their future events. As the submissions popped up onscreen, Sarah commented on them and encouraged further participation.
After the last presenter had finished, Sarah thanked the speakers and wrapped up the whole session with final comments.
In addition to the opening polls, Slido enabled the participants to voice over 120 inspiring ideas that they submitted in a series of four polls that concluded the individual discussions.
Sarah Skavron was enthusiastic about the result:
“The structure of micro-presentations, group discussions and crowdsourcing ideas gave a nice dynamic and flow to the session, which made it engaging and kept the audience’s attention over the session duration of 90 minutes. We were very happy with the results – both in terms of numbers of ideas generated and also creativity.
And Slido helped us to increase interaction, capture the outcome of the discussions and amplify the number of generated ideas.”
How to replicate this at your event
Seat your audience at round tables in groups of 5-7
Do a quick introduction of the topic to set the stage
Keep the presentations short to hold the participants’ attention
Dedicate 3-5 minutes for participants to discuss and digest what they have heard
To multiply the learning and boost interaction, use open polls to crowdsource ideas
Have a dedicated facilitator who will:
Set the theme of the session
Bring speakers onstage
Kick-start the roundtable conversations