Meetology Lab’s psychological insights boost planners’ social skills

Early in their career, planners learn the importance of effective interpersonal communication, but even industry veterans sometimes don’t realize how their interactions are making and breaking deals—and relationships.

Enter the Meetology Lab, a team of specialists that uses cutting-edge psychological insights to empower planners and other professionals with the skills to improve social interactions.

“I joined the IMEX Group in 2004 and soon realized that the meetings and events industry was built on the ability to interact effectively,” says Jonathan Bradshaw, CEO of Meetology Lab. “Whilst the end result was meetings, conferences and events for others to attend, in fact buyers and suppliers met constantly at numerous and ever-growing exhibitions and industry forums.

“I had never seen an industry whose members met so much, and every time I attended an industry exhibition or conference, I saw the clear link between professional success and interpersonal communication skills.”

To help boost communication among professionals, in 2010 Bradshaw launched the Meetology brand. It now includes six psychologists who research the subject and offer in-house corporate training, Meetology Masterclasses, to businesses and organizations on topics such as negotiation, influence and persuasion, and leading groups.

Bradshaw also delivers keynote addresses to groups, focusing on science-based tips, tools and techniques to help attendees interact more effectively at their particular event. He has spoken to business groups in more than 30 countries and in some of the world’s leading cities, including London, Frankfurt, New Delhi and Buenos Aires.

Giving Planners a Boost

Bradshaw feels that his talks are particularly useful to planners. He often says that the only prerequisite to Meetology delivering value is that the audience is human, because everyone interacts with others and we are essentially social beings.

“However, if you look at the variety and number of people whom planners have to interact with—and have to build and maintain a professional relationship with—it is clear to me that they have to empathize, negotiate, network, build rapport, gain trust, connect and influence others numerous times in every project they ever work on,” he says. “Just like almost every other profession, meeting planners are empowered by their ability to interact with others.”

In addition to keynotes, Bradshaw’s company offers Meetology Minutes, weekly blogs posted in a video or written format that convey the psychology behind how to connect, interact and communicate more effectively with others. The blogs are designed to be watched or read in two to three minutes.

“They give insights that can be tested immediately, which is perhaps why I find this whole area so interesting,” Bradshaw says. “Our daily lives offer us a chance to test what works for us. However, meeting professionals have a private life, too. They attend parties, seek a loving relationship and interact with others outside of work every day. So, our insights help them away from the office, too.”

Meetology Lab also has published e-books about influence and persuasion, and how to design meetings to aid interaction. The latest, The Meetology Guide to Business Networking, is offered free to people who subscribe to the Meetology Minutes blog before July 1.

Finding His Calling

Due to Bradshaw’s personal struggles, he is able to relate to the challenges people face in interpersonal communications.

“I was born in Birmingham in the U.K. and as a child, was quite shy and lacking in confidence,” he says. “This situation forced me to become interested in how to interact more effectively with others. Back then, it was common to get a Saturday job in a local shop from the age of about 14 or so.

“Initially in a sports shop and then in a jeweler’s run by the family of my best friend, I found that I had a skill for connecting with others. I slowly overcame my shyness, and relished the change to interact with customers.”

After attending college, he worked in print media and exhibition sales for several blue-chip brands, starting as a classified sales executive with the BBC and finishing as director of business development for IMEX Group, the creators of IMEX America.

Bradshaw now is totally focused on Meetology Lab, which he hopes to expand.

“We are aiming to expand our training internationally under license—delivered via other psychologists,” he says, adding that his company also plans to offer an eLearning channel and a new e-book.