“When expectations accelerate, accelerate your expectations of yourself!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
During the global pandemic, I spent a good part of my 10,000 hours down in my basement, working away in my virtual broadcast studio, mastering the task of virtually going live. I got pretty good at it, working with clients to put out virtual keynotes that looked pretty good. You can see screenshots of much of the work in a slideshow over at https://virtual.jimcarroll.com.
I continue to do some work in the studio, putting out content related to upcoming or past keynotes, topics I’m tracking, or other stuff. It’s not only important to my work, but the studio has also become my ‘happy place’ – it’s just a lot of fun working with the technology and my ideas.
(Yes, it gets a little warm in there!)
Yesterday, I put out a short ten-minute show, primarily aimed at a LinkedIn group of meeting and event planners – essentially, the people who plan, organize, and manage the large-scale conferences and events I am often booked into.
The show took a look at the trends impacting the industry into 2024; I put it together to summarize some of the key trends I’ve seen happening all around me.
What’s in store for the meetings and events industry in 2024?
As a futurist, I had a look at this short video. From ‘drone shows’ to ‘event workflow software’ and ‘digital twin immersive site visits’ – and the impact of The Eras Tour on event expectations! – I take a look at a few key trends you should be thinking about!
In my show, I took a look at a variety of the trends, technologies, and issues that might come into the industry during the year – including the impact of Taylor Swift’s Eras tour staging! (That short section is in the clip above, but I had to put a big black box over the clip because it violated YouTube’s copyright technology. It wasn’t similarly rejected by LinkedIn, Facebook, or TikTok. Go figure!)
You can watch the full version here without that bit blacked out – I have it on my own ‘streaming server.’
In any event, the point I was trying to make in that section was this – through what she has done with the Eras Tour, Taylor Swift has set the bar extremely high when it comes to the meetings, events, and conference industry going forward. The use of sophisticated and ever-changing staging setups, the lighting and video production, the massive number of set changes, the customers, choreography, and costumes – it’s all way over the top. Even if you are not a Swiftie – a Taylor Swift Fan – you should go and watch the show just to see the level of production that is involved. It’s available for rent on AppleTV and other streaming services.
Since the new year began, I’ve engrained that mindset into my work by experimenting with new virtual setups and content production from my virtual broadcast studio. Last week, I did a short show about my 23 Trends for 2023 series; yesterday I did this show about the event industry; and later today, I’ll speak to close to 200 people with my good friend Paul Kurchina, with a look at my 24 Strategies for 2024 series. All of these ‘shows” involve a new set design that is a little more ‘news-oriented’ and has a nice, clean, professional look. I’ve also introduced elements of titles and production elements of production that fit within the theme. (You can actually catch that show later today – it is streamed out ‘live’ to several online services, and can be found at https://live.jimcarroll.com – although I’ve got a bit of work to do to make that page look better!)
My mindset for my work today? In 2024, individuals attending events – whether virtually or in person – will have higher expectations when it comes to the production value of what they watch and attend. This isn’t solely due to Taylor Swift – it’s the fact that the industry continues to see an influx of new technologies, ideas, design and production concepts, and more. Not only that but with the ongoing collapse of attention spans – people tune out just minutes in! – you’ve got to work harder to keep their interest, whether in person or virtually. This involves tight and professional production values.
I did the same thing with my slide deck design for the year, adopting a new slide deck template that to me also looks cleaner, tighter, and more engaging.
I’ve also been, as you know, using AI to generate many of the images within these slide decks – to me, they add a new professional element to the design.
In my keynotes, I will often talk about ‘customer expectations’ as a key trend to watch and monitor going forward.
Overall, as the world speeds up, those expectations are accelerating and changing – customers are becoming more demanding. The example I will often use is e-commerce and online selling – the bar of expectations has been set by the customer experience delivered by Amazon, with online order tracking, instant delivery, and no-question returns for Amazon Prime customers. If you can’t meet or exceed the same level of expectations, you aren’t in the game.
The world is changing – and a key part of that is the expectations of those you interact with. You need to align with that reality, adapt to it, and continuously push yourself to do better than your best. This involves working with new ideas, design concepts, and more – because, in a world in which the bar of expectations is set by Taylor Swift, you’ve got an extremely high bar to jump!