“Going green” is so much more than a passing fad and extends far beyond recycling and electric cars. The businesses who will host the successful live meetings of the future will be the ones who effectively implement new technology to catalyze strategic changes.
These tools will prompt a new sustainability that is a smart move both environmentally and economically.
In the live meeting world of scarce resources and strapped budgets, new technology ensures that we can do more with less.
We recently worked with a top global asset management firm, transforming one of their many annual live meetings into a 100% paperless event. They leveraged our technology to capture new benefits and unparalleled savings and we gained an up-close perspective on universal business challenges and how technology can be a part of the solution.
Challenges and Waste
Live meetings hemorrhage waste and excess, especially when it comes to paper. Erring on the side of caution, businesses will print more, not less, and superfluous collateral inevitably winds up in the trash.
Beyond the obvious waste, paper presents other challenges. First, it must be printed and shipped. Meeting content needs to be prepared, approved, and sent to the correct people long before the event begins. Printed materials, especially color diagrams and illustrations, add additional expense, and shipping only compounds these high costs.
During live meetings, change is a constant. Last minute updates require additional conference inserts and correcting outdated information means more printing, more shipping, and rush costs. These changes often produce confusion, and a program stuffed with corrections simply looks unprofessional.
The need for an alternative is obvious.
By replacing paper with digital content, we can easily overcome many of the challenges of paper collateral. Printing and shipping become obsolete. Last minute changes are easily adopted and provide increased accuracy and comprehension for attendees. There is no “older version” floating around, there is only the current version.
Registration and sign-in can be streamlined and simplified and businesses who operate within strict regulatory parameters (like financial services firms) can load digital content and update materials to attain compliance approvals up to the very last minute.
Digital materials on iPads, while providing cost savings and easing compliance, also spark increased audience participation and interest. Our recent paperless meeting showed 10 times the typical customer engagement and double the response rate for in-meeting evaluations, surveys, and polls. The ease of digital response also drives information accuracy, giving meeting planners a better picture of what their ideal audience wants and needs.
By eliminating paper, live meetings can also digitize the old-fashioned question card. Audience members can submit questions to presenters electronically and interact immediately. At the same time, presenters can engage directly with their audience with new options for in-session polling. Because presentations are no longer printed, presenters have more options for color-intensive, interactive illustrations and diagrams to help their audience understand material more effectively.
The implementation of iPads also allows businesses to make smart energy choices. Unlike other technology that requires replacement batteries, rechargeable iPads demand less environmentally while providing high standards of performance.
A Smart Choice
At first glance, many companies think that the cost of technology will be hard to justify, but as they break down traditional costs in comparison to new options, they find the opposite to be true.
By eliminating paper (and its residual costs), they can replace course materials, manuals, handouts, and other collateral with nimble electronic versions. At the discretion of the meeting planner, participants can receive an emailed copy of the presentation along with any notes they took. This content is easier to keep, harder to lose, and exponentially more beneficial.
New technology certainly provides environmental perks, but for businesses looking to succeed in the future, it is the elegant solution that minimizes costs and maximizes impact.