How to Avoid FOMO at Professional Events

4 minute read
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Technology can help alleviate our fear of missing out on networking and educational events.

We all know about FOMO, or fear of missing out, when it comes to our social lives, but can we experience FOMO on the job, too?

The fear of missing out makes us do things we might not want to do just so we can say we did them. In our personal lives, that can be a waste of time. But in our professional lives, we can have legitimate reasons for experiencing FOMO. When you go to conferences and networking events, you want to make the most of the time you spend at the event. Sometimes, that means making difficult decisions about, for example, which conference session to attend when two or more interesting talks are scheduled at the same time; no matter which one you choose, you could miss out on valuable information shared at the other sessions. When that happens, you are experiencing FOMO on a professional level. But these days, technology can help alleviate FOMO.

Why Do We Attend Conferences, Anyway?

In this digital age, when you can create an entire business network online without ever leaving your office, what’s the value of being at an event in person? For one thing, people like to make connections face to face and sit in on educational workshops because it just feels more authentic and more real than clicking buttons on a computer.

To better understand the behavior of conference attendees, the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) and The Experience Institute collaborated on a research initiative called the “Decision to Attend Study.” Results such as these show that businesspeople rate live event attendance as very important for educational or networking reasons:

  • Education: Regardless of their age group or how often they attend events, more than 90 percent of people participating in the study reported that a desire to learn and stay abreast of trends in their field is an important reason for attending events.
  • Networking: Overall, 75 percent of the respondents said that making connections with fellow professionals is an important reason to attend a conference in person. It was most important for Gen Y millennials, with 84 percent of the respondents in that group citing a desire to network as a factor that influenced their decision to take part in events.

But it isn’t always possible to attend workshops, seminars or trade shows in person, and that’s where technology comes into play.

Learning Opportunities

Technology Is Changing Business Events

Have you ever had a “you just had to be there” moment while attending a big conference? Thanks to technology, you can still have those moments even if you aren’t able to be at an event in person. Conferences and networking events can now be live-streamed and podcasted, increasing event attendance and giving people ways to “attend” multiple workshops that are scheduled simultaneously.

Event planners are taking notice of the ways technology is transforming the events business. A Trade Show News Network (TSNN) survey yielded the following findings:

  • Event producers said that they expect to spend an average of 10.8 percent more on event technology in 2017 than they did in 2016.
  • More than three-quarters (77 percent) of event producers said that their event technology budgets increased from 2016 to 2017.

Technology, in the form of podcasts, live streams and more, expands the number of people who can take part in conferences and networking events, and it helps foster more and deeper connections. It means people don't have to worry about FOMO — whether it's fear of missing an entire event, or just the stress of choosing between two or more conference sessions that are taking place at the same time. The end result is a more engaged audience, and event organizers know that a more engaged audience leads to greater attendance in the future. On the flip side, a failure to properly utilize technology, or a decision to forgo technology just to save money, can prevent people from accessing the information they want and thereby alienate event attendees, with any cost savings offset by revenue reductions due to declining attendance in the future.

This infographic offers more insight into how to use technology to help businesspeople cope with any event-related FOMO they may experience:

How to Have FOMO - Even at an Event
Source: Evia Events

About the author

Brian Wallace

Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency based in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies that range from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian also runs #LinkedInLocal events nationwide, hosts the Next Action Podcast, and has been named a Google Small Business Advisor for 2016-2018.