Last Saturday we brought the curtain down on the inaugural Connections Meetings event in Portugal. A few days have passed, and it has given me a little time to reflect. All I can think is:  what in the world just happened these past few days?

I am used to attending B2B events and conferences, yet I feel weird (in a good way) about the last few days in Portugal. It was a very intense few days: touring around Lisbon, learning together on the train to Faro, and sharing experiences in the beautiful Algarve.  I felt like I was a scientist conducting an experiment, or undertaking a kind of anthropological study. I observed individuals from different backgrounds acting like themselves in a corporate environment. I recommend everyone make more of an effort to be natural at work!

It was interesting to note that acting like themselves did not make them lose focus: their desire to seek out business opportunities and learn ways to improve meetings design was as strong as ever. Actually, the experiences that accompanied their meetings were a genuine stimulus, rather than an inhibitor. I guess that Erik Kandel dude really knew what he was talking about…

On the way home, something interesting happened. A load of the delegates were scheduled to fly on the same plane home. Rather than go their separate ways, we all congregated at a table in Starbucks to share stories and experiences.  We were all from completely different countries and cultures. It was the first time I have ever seen that in my life. People usually stick with who they already know. But the togetherness and camaraderie shared between a group of people who had only met a few days previous was fantastic. Shouldn’t all networking be like this? It’s so important to expand your network, rather than always hang with the same old industry buddies. Imagine if this happened in our political world: Nationalities and politicians getting together and engaging positively between each other? Just imagine how powerful that would be…

This showed me the power and influence on desired outcomes that designed content and human-to-human communication really has on people.

I really want to share this great feeling with more people but I realise that actually my story is NOT good enough to spread the message… Real change happens when a GROUP of passionate people actually get together and do something about boring and ineffective meetings.  As meetings professionals we should be a generation that refuses to settle for default, tried and tested methods of the past. I know I am not the only that feel this way. I know the MPI EMEC conference is taking a real step forward by leaving its comfort zone next year in Copenhagen by taking a fresh approach to meeting design. Bravo indeed!! I am sure many more will follow. And together, we can be change.

At Connections Meetings last week there were many stories shared between delegates. There is always room for improvement, but that feeling of unity was great.  We have been capturing stories via social media, and we hope to share many more with you in the future!

Let’s keep working together and fighting to improve the future of meetings design!

See you around friends and let’s keep pushing! 😉