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What's the Mood at Your Meeting?

ASSOCIATIONS NOW, March 2013 Meetings

By: Samantha Whitehorne

Summary: A look at how to measure your attendees’ emotional engagement at your meetings—and how it can make for even more successful events. [Titled "Feel Good Meetings" in the print edition.]

Do you think your meeting would be more successful if you knew whether attendees were engaged or bored at a particular moment, allowing you to cue your speakers to adjust their presentations on the spot? Good news: It's not too far off.

When Meeting Professionals International released the fourth installment of its Future of Meetings research in December, experts said it's only a matter of time before event professionals know where attendees are at all times and how much time they spend at different locations. Prediction: Smartphones will let event managers know when attendees' hearts are racing—or if they're angry, tired, or bored.

One association has a head start. Last April, the Association of Corporate Travel Executives partnered with Active Network to create the industry's first-ever emotional engagement measurement system, intended to measure the emotional return on investment (EROI) in meetings and events. ACTE Executive Director Ron DiLeo says the goal is to "provide solid science behind the role of emotions on success" and how they lead to organizational success.

ACTE rolled out an app for its Executive Forum programs. Attendees download it and provide live feedback about their conference experience.

Lynn Randall, managing director of Randall Insights LLC, the initiative's research director, says the tool allows a group to gauge which part of a meeting creates a positive emotional engagement and, ultimately, an event's ROI.

Samantha Whitehorne is deputy editor at Associations Now in Washington, DC. Email:

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