'Creating dreams for people' - AEO Conference 2016

Doing things differently, the relationship between language and behaviour, and the fact that there is no one average type of person were all key discussion points made at this year’s AEO Conference.

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Held at the Grand Hotel, Brighton on 8-9 September, keynotes and panel debates all spoke about the changing landscape of events, millennials and ‘understanding what makes events cool for the next generation’.

The event opened with an icebreaker event on the evening of Wednesday 7 September at the BAi360 where 60 attendees were treated to a trip to the top of the newly opened visitor attraction.

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The power of saying “yes, if” instead of “no, because”

The following morning was opened by ‘accidental motivational speaker’ and behaviour expert, Jez Rose, who mesmerised the audience – not only with his moustache but his belief that learned behaviours can have a massive impact on success and that it’s possible to change them.

An example of this is when you’re faced with a challenge, say “yes, if” instead of “no, because” and this will create a positive, forward-thinking attitude, both for the person saying it and also the recipient.

(A subject that has inspired EN to delve into further in the next edition of the WeBlogEvents column.)

This was followed by insightful and research led sessions covering heavyweight topics including the impact of Brexit on the events industry and how to understand, communicate with and get the most out of the millennial generation.

Opinion on stage was split during the No Cold Calling Allowed session, which examined the sales process debating whether, due to the rise of social selling, cold calling is dead or still a valid means of making a sale.

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Generation to generation

Three of the leading EN 30 Under Thirty members took to the stage before the day closed, looking at what it takes to develop talent in 2016 and what millennials are looking for out of a career in the events industry.

Following a survey Montgomery’s Alexander Angus sent out to the EN30/30, results echoed what other generations want from a career, with personal achievement and career progression rated more important than pay.

The day highlighted that to engage, nurture and motivate millennials, what needs to be thought about differently are behaviours, communication channels and speed of response.

The morning after

With sore heads on the second day of the conference, the audience took part in two interactive sessions – the first focusing on data from experts who manage and analyse data and event organisers who demonstrated how they apply it to enhance the event experience for customers.

Brand Events’ Chris Hughes closed the conference a literal view from the top, explaining to the industry that as jobs, we create dreams for people.

 



Peering over the top of the stage to open the session and asking the audience to stand on their chairs; Freeman’s Anthony Floreano, the NEC’s Kathryn James, Clarion’s Lisa Hannant and consultant Andrew Evans took to the stage for an active discussion on engaging talent, managing growth, learning from mistakes.

Delighted with the response to this year’s conference, Chris Skeith, chief executive of AEO said: “There was a great mix of over 200 people in the room from different levels, functions and types of organisation. The programme, to provide insight on doing business in changing and often challenging times, was developed with this in mind.”

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