The ‘BIG’ conference trend of 2018
Andrew Klein, professional MC and presentation skills speaker and director of SPIKE Presentations, presents his front line observations on conferences in a regular feature in BEN.
FOR my final Confession column of the year, I have been looking back on my year in conferencing and thinking about the big trends of 2018.
Last year I chose “Throwable Microphone boxes” as my pick for conference trend of 2017 (you know those cube-shaped spongy mikes you throw around a conference room from person-to-person during Q&A?)
I have been trying to think of an equivalent trend for 2018, something I saw at conferences that seemed to have exploded on the conference scene in the year gone by.
Was it the continuing trend of sponsors giving out branded mobile phone battery chargers?
Was it the number of presentations about AI, VR and robots disrupting the respective industry of that specific conference?
Or Google Play boxes or Amazon Alexa and all those voice-activated box thingo’s (I’m not very technical, but you know what I mean) as the Exhibitor Prize-giveaway of 2018?
Then as I walked on stage last month and stood in front of those giant white foam letters forming the association acronym, it hit me.
Those giant letters have been around for many years (TEDx perhaps started the trend?) but for some reason in 2018, they were everywhere.
Show me an association with four letters (usually starting with an A for ‘Australia’) and ending with an A for ‘Association’ and I’ll show you four giant letters mid-stage.
Corporate conferences have embraced them too, especially ones that theme their conference – “CONNECT” or “INSPIRE” or “TECH’18” or “#LEAD” – spelt out in big letters (usually white, often illuminated in vivid reds or blues).
The manufacturers of giant letters must be making a killing. There are really only 26 options to produce and an optional hash-tag add-on.
Choose four or five and arrange them at will!
Get your AV team to light them as you please and your stage looks super cool.
Not only that but your delegates will get photos of themselves with the letters and post them on Insta or Facebook (#attheAGLAConvention) and your PR is done.
“AGLA” if you’re wondering is the AUSTRALIAN GIANT LETTER ASSOC. and I have no idea if that exists, but it will soon, judging by how much business those guys are doing.
Hope you’ve all had a BIG #18 and have a great (in giant letters) XMAS.