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October 15, 2008

Mobile technology is reducing meetings and conference ROI

Three-quarters of delegates refuse to switch off their phones and PDAs during meetings and conferences, adversely affecting concentration levels, according to a recent survey by Wyboston Lakes.

The study, carried out by Northern Europe’s largest privately owned single site conference and training centre situated on the Cambridgeshire-Bedfordshire border, polled 875 delegates between August and September 2008.

The research found that 75% of all participants ignored requests to turn off their mobile devices during sessions. Out of these delegates, a further 40% admitted to checking PDAs, BlackBerrys, iPhones and mobile phones at least every 30 minutes, while 10% said that they check their phones every 10 minutes. 
More worryingly, 91% of those who check their phones every 10 to 30 minutes said they felt anxious when unable to access emails.  Age, too, contributes to delegate disruption, with a large majority of young respondents aged 25 to 35 checking their phones more often than the 36 to 55-year-old participants, who consulted their devices every one to two hours.
“Within today’s society of 24/7 mobile connectivity, it can be hard to fight the distractions of the modern fast-paced world and the pressures that come with this,”, said Clive Bache, sales and marketing director at Wyboston Lakes.

“As companies want to secure a return on investment from their events, conference speakers need to find the most effective ways to get audiences focused and more involved in the messages they are trying to get across. However, 24/7 connectivity means that the temptation is always there. We try to discourage the use of PDAs and mobiles during conferences and events as they can be very disruptive.”

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