Best of 2011: Looking Back at the Big Ideas, Tech Trends, and News Stories Re-Shaping the Industry

November 10, 2011, 8:30 AM EST

For every sign of economic recovery this year, there seemed to be another foreboding announcement suggesting more troubled times to come. That has kept event professionals trying to be nimble enough to adapt to whatever happens next.

New technologies present another set of challenges—learning how they work, while also thinking strategically about how to use them. Maybe you signed up for Foursquare, then remembered to check in once in a while—now, will it affect your event strategy? Should it?

Such technical advances have also fueled some pretty radical rethinking of event and meeting formats, as have generational shifts. Suddenly, it seems everyone is talking about new engagement strategies, and a subset of the industry bounces between TED-style conferences and attendee-driven seminars, blogging and tweeting all the while. But what does it all mean for your next meeting?

For our annual year-end review, we looked at these industry changes with both a big-picture perspective and an eye to the details of how things actually work.

We solicited opinionated takes on the most important trends from industry thinkers who are watching these developments. We also put together definitions for 20 buzzwords that dominated conversations this year—or at least among people who know what they mean. And we asked our local editors to share highlights from their markets.

We hope the Best of 2011 will serve as a crib sheet, a highlights reel, and a preview of what’s to come.

Sections of the Best of 2011 package will be published online throughout November and December, so stay tuned for related stories and topics.

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