Have you already stumbled on those 'fancy' articles or eBooks that 'scream' at you about the latest event industry trends you can't miss? Of course you did, and most likely, you took the bait and clicked on the content. No judgement here.
As event managers, we always want to be ahead of everything and know how to upgrade the planning process. Yet, there’s something terribly wrong with all these event trends. As the existentialist philosopher Criss Jami notes, "Trends are about as fickle as the direction of the wind; as are the legacies of those who flow with them."
However, we can’t avoid it. We are constantly absorbing huge amounts of trends that seem to 'rule' our industry, while being obsessed with following the crowd of wannabe experts. Why? Have you ever heard about FoMO (Fear of Missing Out)?
According to the research study "The Motivational, emotional, and behavioral correlates of fear of missing out", "FoMO is characterized by the desire to stay continually connected with what others are doing." The researchers suggest that when experiencing FoMO, people show signs of irritability, anxiety, and inadequacy. A study done by JWTIntelligence Communications reveals that nearly 70% of adults experience the feeling of missing out. So as you can understand, the urge of absorbing the event industry trends is mostly conditioned by an irrational fear of missing out.
However, you can't let FoMO guide your professional life... especially when you have so many reasons not to follow the trends. Here are some of them.
Reason #1. You are confusing trends with fads
As Seth Godin highlights, there’s a difference between real trends and fads (which we mistake for trends). A fad is something popular, yet momentary. A real trend, instead, “gains power over time, because it's not merely part of a moment, it's a tool, a connector that will become more valuable as other people commit to engaging in it.” As you can see, we can’t call event trends the simplistic predictions of things or practices that probably will be popular during the year.
Reason #2. You are exposing yourself to informational overload
When you have lots of information to operate with, you get stuck. This phenomenon is called 'paralysis by analysis' and it happens as a result of the complexity of a situation plus large amounts of data you have to deal with. In other words, you can't decide to act a certain way because of an information overload. Each time you consume more news about event industry trends, you may feel desperate and unable to act because of the incredible quantity of information you receive. You simply don’t know which trends to adopt and which to ignore.
Reason #3. You risk experiencing more anxiety and doubts
So you don’t have that flying drone that will livestream your event or you can’t provide a mixed reality experience. What to do now? You need those gadgets right away! If not, you’ll make your attendees unhappy.
Stop! Why do people come to your events? To learn, network, engage, discover new things, and have a good time. Are the drones and the mixed reality a must to accomplish your event goals? No. Focus on what your attendees really need and don't lose yourself running after 'cool' and 'fancy' trends.
Reason #4. The 'Next Big Thing' doesn't mean the 'Next Best Thing'
Who said the list of event trends for 2017 is a good one? We tend to idealize trends, thinking that this is the solution to a better event, yet we forget about the most important thing: whenever you incorporate something new in the planning process, you have to do it to solve a problem. The best option is the one that helps you find a solution for a planning issue. Don’t adopt a trend only because it’s popular. Only do it if it adds true value to your event.
Reason #5. Don’t follow the trends, create them
You have the power to create new solutions for event planning issues. Why follow what others say and not think for yourself? Focus on the problems you have, create the solutions, and experiment with the things you found, then tell the world about that.
Call to action
Put aside that list of list of trends and take out a piece of paper. Write down all the issues you face when planning an event. Describe each issue in as much detail as possible. Then take the “trends” list out again and see if there’s anything on that list that could really provide some value. Be critical and analytical each time you read about event industry trends. Most of the times, this list of “cool” things will be forgotten in a few months.