Welcome to 2008; eight years after the celebration of the millennium; 24 years after the setting in the prophetic book 1984; and 20 years since we have had someone with a name other than Clinton or Bush in the White House. Yet, we have survived and live to face the future as we know it. Of course, nobody knows what the future may hold. If we did, we would all quit our jobs, buy winning lottery tickets, and meet on a beach in Aruba. If we knew what the future held, we would not have to waste time with the presidential campaigns, we wouldn't have to wonder what the weather was going to be like tomorrow, and we sure as heck would know when to bet on the Chicago Cubs.

Since nobody knows what the future holds, we have to depend upon the words of psychics, prophets, and Sears — I mean seers — to inform us, realizing, of course, that they are all just making it up. In that entrepreneurial spirit, I would like to present my totally fabricated predictions for the meetings industry in 2008.

Meetings will become more efficient by holding them onboard airplanes. In the past, meeting attendees had to fly to a central location, spend three days doing what could have been done in one, have a fancy meal, and fly home. In the future, this process will be more efficient: One plane will leave from the East Coast and one from the West Coast. The planes will meet in Chicago. While the planes are in the air, the passengers will hear lectures, training tips, guest speakers, and have all of the bonding benefits they would have gotten on the ground, but now they are finished with the meeting before they even arrive. When the planes meet in Chicago, everybody goes out for a fancy meal, and then get back on the planes for the ride home and some breakout sessions. Since the trip back to the West Coast is longer, they will also get a movie.

For even more efficiency, some meetings will be held in buses. It's cheaper than flying and gives you more time for more programs. You can still sell beer on board but now you make the profit. Granted, motion sickness may become a problem but, hey, you'll save on meal costs too.

Teamwork exercises will become cost-effective. It used to be expensive to get all of the members of your team on the same page. You had to have teambuilding seminars with rope climbing, bridge building, and buck passing. In the future. you'll capture that team spirit and save money. Rather than each member of your team having their own hotel room, everybody will rack out in the team dormitory — fill the ballroom with bunk beds and have a giant sleepover. In the morning, meetings will start earlier because everybody is already in the ballroom.

Meeting planners will be paid what they are worth. Hey, you and I both know that this will never happen because you are worth far more than anyone could put a price on. So this isn't really a prediction but rather a blatant pandering to meeting planners. You rock!

New software will allow you to set up your database so that people you don't like will be given all of the center seats on the airplanes and the rooms next to the elevators at the hotel. It can be downloaded for free at www.makemyday.punk. It puts revenge back in your hands — where it belongs.

Teleconferencing will be replaced by psychic conferencing. Rather than have all parties involved on the same telephone call, psychic conferencing could be done anywhere in the world with no electricity or wireless Internet hookup. At a prescribed time, everyone involved in the meeting will sit cross-legged on the floor and enter a trance of meditation (or medication, whichever works for them). All of the “vibes” will travel to an axis point in Colorado Springs, from which they will be dispensed to all parties.

If any of these predictions comes true in 2008, or any other year for that matter, I will be as shocked as anybody and will immediately begin my speaking tour and book promotion for my bestseller about the future called, “Sooth, I Say.” Order it now at www.inmydreams.org.

Dale Irvin is known as “the professional summarizer.” He attends meetings around the world and recaps the events with instantly written comedy monologues. For more information, and to sign up for Dale's free Friday Funnies, visit www.daleirvin.com or call him at (800) 951-7321. For booking, contact Ruth Levine at Speak Inc., (858) 228-3771.