by Lisa A. Grimaldi | January 24, 2017
Purposeful meetings -- how to plan with deeper meaning, innovation and insight in mind -- will be the focus this year for the IMEX Group, organizer of the annual IMEX in Frankfurt (May 16-18) and IMEX America (Oct. 10-12) trade shows. It is the first time the shows will have a talking point that will "allow the company to plan and respond more dynamically to rising trends and issues within the international meetings, events and incentive travel industry," according to a statement.  
 
The IMEX talking point reflects the company's new mission: "To unite and advance the meetings industry -- doing everything we can to educate, innovate and help our clients make powerful connections with the right people."
 
According to Carina Bauer, left, CEO of the IMEX Group, "We're committed to continually adding to the value of the learning and networking opportunities we provide through our trade shows. That means we have to keep ahead of industry trends and keep talking to all our visitors and exhibitors to discover their problems and needs and decide how we can help solve them. Having an annual talking point allows us to listen and respond quicker and with more intention to those needs. Our chief focus is always going to be on bringing buyers and sellers together, face-to-face, in the most efficient and enjoyable way possible. But the IMEX talking points will inject more immediacy, stronger direction and a clearer distinction between each show year to year."
 
Bauer added, "There is a shift toward the intentional planning and creation of memorable moments, not meetings, and experiences, not events. Purposeful meetings are engaging, inspiring and enjoyable with long-lasting positive outcomes. They are successful and satisfying because they've been planned with specific outcomes and behaviors in mind, and they achieve these outcomes and behaviors by taking into account five key elements: behavioral science, meeting design, health and well being, CSR legacy and, of course, technology.
 
"Being a purposeful planner -- or a purposeful company or brand, for that matter -- requires a change in thinking, a fresh approach plus new skills and knowledge. This is part of a bigger trend toward meeting planners and event marketers becoming much more strategic," Bauer said.
 
To support its purposeful-meetings focus, the IMEX Group has formed two partnerships with leading industry specialists. PSAV, the global event technology services company, will support a major piece of research and an industry white paper, conducted by Amanda Cecil of Indiana University and Janet Sperstad, CMP, of Madison Area Technical College; their first findings will be released at IMEX in Frankfurt in May. The IMEX Group also has entered into a three-year agreement with the EventCanvas.org Foundation, which allows IMEX to offer event-design certification at both of its shows as part of its pre-show education programs. The certification training will be offered free of charge to approximately 20 English and 20 German planners.
 
More details about the purposeful-meetings talking point can be found here.