Jeff Bezos Says This Is How We Should Think About the Next 10 Years

June 10, 2020

Mike Duseberg

Mike Duseberg entertains at corporate meetings and hospitality events around the United States, using magic and mind-reading to help build rapport and connection between salespeople and their clients.  He can be contacted through his website at magicmeansbusiness.com.

There's a lot of "shiny object syndrome" driving our decisions as we try to adapt to changing conditions, but our best strategy might be to focus on the fundamentals.

I read an interesting quote about Jeff Bezos. He said that everyone asks him what will change in the future, and really dismissed the question as interesting but irrelevant.  

Yeah. Irrelevant.

He said what is important is what won’t change in the next decade. Bezos believes that 10 years from now, people will still want a wide selection of quality products available at the lowest possible price. Hard to argue that Amazon isn’t positioned for the future.

So what won’t change in the events industry in the next 20 years? Here are five ideas that should never be dismissed.

Permanent Truth #1: People Want Experiences More Than Stuff

As always, stuff remains obtainable; in fact, Amazon is exactly why more and more stuff of higher and higher quality is available faster and faster and at a lower and lower price.

Great experiences, however, continue to increase in value. Leading Hotels of the World’s famous customer service slogan will always be true: “The last bastion of luxury is personalized service.”  

Experiences that feel engaging, conversational, interactive, and participatory have inherent meaning, create lasting memories and almost compel people to talk about them. 

Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a “millennial” thing or a recent discovery. This is a fundamental part of human nature.  

Permanent Truth #2: People Crave a Story They Can Tell

One of the most amusing articles I read in the Wall Street Journal this year was about how souvenir hats and shirts have become status symbols.  It’s true. When I travel, I wear a windbreaker from Augusta National Golf Club and a hat from a club so private I can’t legally write its name in this article. People who recognize those logos instantly reach out to me and tell me about their experiences as these events.

They feel compelled to talk about their experience. They want to say things like:

  • I was there when…
  • Here’s what happened to me… 
  • This is how I felt when… 
  • This is what I saw… 

And they want to ask questions like:

  • Did you see…
  • Were you there for…
  • Did get try the…
  • Who did you go with?

The Carnegie Rule is as true as ever: People want to feel important. Having an experience that they participated in — simply saying “I was there too” — makes people feel incredibly important, and they feel compelled to talk about their experience because that enhances their feeling of importance.

Permanent Truth #3: People Need a Reason to Talk to Each Other

The number of books and YouTube videos about how to network, how to meet people and how to communicate more effectively grows every year.  These topics have driven the sales and self-help industry for well over a century, and they will continue to sell forever.  

People will always be a little nervous to approach strangers, and they’ll always be more willing to do it when they have a reason to reach out and say hello.  

To reduce the fear of rejection — which is a big part of why people are reticent to approach strangers — we need to create more experiences where rejection isn’t possible. We need to do fun and engaging things that make people want to come together and do things with other people.

We will always need to create engaging, entertaining, and fun contexts for connecting at events. If we want to get people off their phones and out of their heads, we need to draw them into a shared experience and provide the opportunity for them to start talking to each other.

People crave experiences that give them something to talk about — during the event, after the event and in anticipation of next year’s event.  

They can use these experiences to start conversations with their friends, colleagues, and the people the want to meet — new friends, new prospective clients and new network members.  

Permanent Truth #4: Face to Face is More Persuasive Than Print, Phone, Digital, or Whatever Else…

My colleagues and I are convinced that the future of online is a conversation that starts offline. Permission marketing will be more important than ever before, and future marketers and salespeople will need to get that permission in an offline environment.

Face to face has always been more productive. "Putting a face with the voice on the phone” has been a common phrase since the at least the1950s, and we’ve only adjusted it to saying things like, “putting a face on the email address” and “nice to meet you ‘in real life.’”

Data proves this out. If I know who you are, I’m much more likely to answer your email, accept your phone call, read your social media request or open your letter.  

The past, present, and future of business has always been connection: who you know, who knows you and who is interested in getting to know you.

Events are the fastest and most productive way to get to know people.

Permanent Truth #5: People Crave Good Cocktail Parties 

Nobody wants to go to a networking event — really. We say we do because we want leads and prospects. But nobody wants to go to an event with 100 other people (and especially, not now) who want us to be their lead, prospect or referral source.  

From time immemorial, people know they’re supposed to be there to help other people, but their stubborn human nature makes them pitch, pitch, pitch.

We really want to go to an event where fun things happen and we get to know the other people at the conference, trade show, executive summit, dinner, awards event or client retreat. The heart of successful networking is developing a catalog of people that we know, like and trust and who know, like and trust us.  

“Know, like, and trust” are a progression; we “know” people first (i.e., we become aware of them), and over a conversation or two we start to “like” them. Finally we “know them enough” to start to “trust” them.

And when we trust them, we can start to do business with them.  

The best thing we can do (when the country reopens again) is to have more events where people can start introducing each other to the people around them so they can “know, like, and trust” each other.  

From the beginning of time, that event has been a cocktail party.  ust about every culture in the history of time has an example of powerful people coming together and talking while eating and drinking.  

It’s a very simple formula. Put people in a room where they feel comfortable talking (i.e., reasonable lighting, conversational music and not a whole lot of echo), provide them something to talk about (like unique entertainment), give them something they can eat and drink while talking, and let people do what they do best — talk. 

Hopefully all this was review. Five things that won’t change in the next 10 years and haven’t changed in the last 2,000 years. If we keep these fundamental event principles in mind, we can be sure we’ll be creating productive business events well into the future.  

This post originally appeared on Mike Duseberg's website, Magic Means Business. Read it here.

 

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Partner Voices

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