Meetings Industry Trends I Hope to Never See

With tongue planted firmly in cheek, here are three meeting industry trends I hope to not see in 2012—or any other year, for that matter.

Extreme Team-Building

In this scenario, company execs speculate that if something like helping your co-worker through a simple ‘ropes course’ builds cohesiveness, what would a seriously demanding task accomplish?

Thus, zip-lining tours and scavenger hunts are tossed to the wayside, with groups assigned instead to steal gold from Fort Knox, pearl-dive in shark-infested waters, organize coups in small third-world nations, and the like.

As casualties increase, so does the bonding between surviving staff members, leaving companies in a quandary on whether to continue with the trend.

‘Reverse’ Incentive Trips

Imagine the lead sales executive at Acme Inc. calling the team together to talk about the upcoming fiscal quarter.

“We’ll be sending our top three salespeople to Hawaii for a week,” he says to a cheering room. “With five-star accommodations, spa treatments, golf, and luaus every night!”

When they hubbub dies down, he continues.

“We’ll also be sending our three least-effective salespeople to a barren island off the coast of Antarctica, where they’ll be forced to fend for themselves for two weeks in a pup tent the size of a small cubicle. Good luck everyone!”

Sales skyrocket, and savvy execs soon realize they can drop the reward aspect and simply use the ‘fear factor’ approach.

Healthy Break Stations

Yes, I know these are already trending big-time, but something must be done to stop the madness. It’s only a matter of time before the break station becomes simply a large bowl of fat-free hummus, garnished with organic baby carrot stems—with an open ‘wheat grass’ bar serving as the only beverage option.

It’s probably just me, but I long for the days when the healthiest item at a break station was a bag of Lay’s potato chips, or perhaps a ‘fun-size’ Snickers bar. Or maybe meetings should simply move 180 degrees away from healthy and just offer up martinis and hand-rolled Cuban cigars?

I think we all know where Don Draper would stand on this crucial matter.

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