Skift Take

Conference planners are shifting their criteria for sourcing speakers based on three disruptions: changing attendee expectations, the rise of digital engagement, and a batch of high-profile conferences redefining event design.

The Future of Meetings & Events

Conference planners are under growing pressure to pull together the best possible speaker lineup due to three shifts disrupting the meetings and events industry.

Changing attendee expectations are causing a lot of confusion among planners because everyone wants a different type of event experience these days. Some audiences just like to listen and others want to participate, but how they engage is the big question.

Also, digital content and social media are influencing speaker choices more every year because anyone with a strong social following can jumpstart online engagement fast.

Then there’s the systemic shift in event design itself. SXSW, C2, TED, and others have changed how we think about traditional conference layout and programming, and everyone is trying to catch up.

Skift contributor Jeremy Kressmann put together a stellar analysis, Meeting Planners Guide to Best Speakers 2017, around the speaker of the future, along with a roundup of influencers everyone wants at their next event. Download the report here.

— Greg Oates

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Social Quote of the Week

“Best AI and chatbot conferences in 2017 via @standuply:

@Sciensio on Twitter

This Week At Skift


Skift Best Keynote Speakers: For the Skift Meeting Planners Guide to Best Keynote Speakers 2017 project, we took a closer look at how new demands from conference attendees, and the precedent set by groundbreaking events like SXSW and TED, are forcing event organizers across all industries to elevate their own speaker selection processes. Read more at Skift

We’re Building The Sexiest Program for Skift Global Forum: This year’s Skift Global Forum NYC, happening September 26-27 at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall, Time Warner Center NYC, will feature more audience participation, increased speaker diversity, and one of our first on-stage forays into the restaurant and food tourism sector.  Read more at Skift

Next Generation Meetings UX

Why I’m Skipping Cannes for VidCon This Year: According to Joshua Lowcock, executive vice president and chief digital officer of UM Worldwide: “You’re more likely to find the freshest talent and the future of storytelling on a stage in Anaheim than on a beach in the south of France. You’re better off spending time with the next generation of storytellers, and getting close to creators instead of just creatives.” Read more at Google

How Artificial Intelligence Chatbots Can Improve Event Management and Guest Experience: Sciensio’s “Betty” is a concierge event bot that delivers logistical information to attendees, and it’s fully integrated with the client’s registration system to provide ad hoc messaging and ongoing event updates. Read more at BizBash

Video: A Chatbot That Will Take Your Events to The Next Level and Never Needs to Be Downloaded: This is a solid primer on everything you need to know about integrating chats into event design, organized in easy-to-access sections. Watch at

The Producers Behind New York Fashion Week Are Launching A Startup Accelerator: LDJ Productions, the agency producers of New York Fashion Week, unveiled plans for a new startup accelerator called Futures NYC. Futures is expected to give the event management company direct access to the talent pool of people developing new products that are focused on emerging technology in the live events industry. Read more at New York Business Journal

Does the Events Industry Really Need a New Conference for Digital Strategy?: AMR International provides strategic consulting for the exhibitions industry. Now it’s creating its own conferences focusing on the evolution of data capture to inform event design. Denzil Rankine, executive chairman of AMR, says: “There’s a large number of technology providers to the industry, and it’s very hard to understand which technology providers to work with, what solutions to obtain from them, and how to go about using the available solutions to drive value for participants.” Read more at Convene

Snapchat Looms Large at Cannes: At the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity this week, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter rented beach spaces for a series of panels and events. Meanwhile, Snapchat erected a yellow ferris wheel right outside Le Palais where both delegates and the public are being asked to share their experiences on Snap. There’s also a vending machine selling Snap Spectacles. Read more at Digiday

National Basketball Players Association Announces First Tech Summit: The National Basketball Players’ Association announced the inaugural NBPA Technology Summit. The 3-day event in San Francisco aims to integrate NBA players with tech and media companies for post-career opportunities, beyond just backing them. Read more at Fast Company

Language and the Machine: Algorithms and the Future of Communication: We have an unprecedented variety of digital platforms for communicating these days, but it’s hard for many people to keep up. Here are a few insights explaining how these tools are evolving, including: GIFs, emojis, online video, voice commands, haptic responses, chatbots, and more. Read more at Social Media Week

The Fairmont Queen Elizabeth and C2 Hook Up to Build New Event Space: The Fairmont Queen Elizabeth in Montreal and local event company C2 teamed up to develop the permanent Espace C2 meeting space on the roof of the hotel. The venue is scheduled to open this fall, but look for this marriage to scale brand-wide for Fairmont. Read more at Fairmont Montreal


The Skift Meetings Innovation Report is curated by Skift editor Greg Oates [[email protected]]. The newsletter is emailed every Wednesday.

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Photo credit: Celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson made Skift's Best Speakers List 2017. Marcus Samuelsson

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