Conferences that Work

How to help meeting design clients figure out what they really want and need

Conferences that Work

Great — a client who doesn’t know what they want! Recently, a client asked for help designing a new conference. Thirty minutes of discussion with three stakeholders revealed they hadn’t yet settled on the event’s specific purpose, scope, and format. From my perspective this is actually a great problem to have. Because most clients engage me after they are committed to programs and logistics that are not optimum for what they’re trying to accomplish!

The creative event design tool that all #eventprofs should use

Conferences that Work

Here’s a powerful tool you can use to generate creative event designs. You can use this tool for every aspect of event design. Stylists working on the look and feel of an event often use it to stimulate fresh thinking about the venue, the décor, the lighting, the food and beverage, entertainment, and so on. Rarely, however, is this tool used to design events that creatively incorporate, illuminate, and support core desires and outcomes for the meeting.

How to design for powerful connection and learning at large meetings

Conferences that Work

Although you’d never guess it from reading meeting industry trade journals, most meetings are small meetings , and this is a good thing if you want effective and relevant connection and learning to take place. Large meetings stroke owners’ and leaders’ egos, can supply impressive spectacle, are appropriate places to launch campaigns and mass announcements, and can be very profitable.

2018 143

Lessons From Improv: Seeing the Gifts in People and Events

Conferences that Work

Thoughts triggered while rereading Patricia Ryan Madson’s delightful, straightforward, and yet profound improv wisdom. Ooh, this is a hard one for me, but it’s so important for anyone working in the meeting profession. “I can look at a person or event from three vantage points. To see what’s wrong with it ( the critical method commonly used in higher education). Using this lens the self looms large. To see it objectively ( the scientific method ).

2018 120

9 Simple Steps to Master Social Media for Events

The Definitive Guide to Social Media Event Marketing

Why you should run The Solution Room at your next event

Conferences that Work

The Solution Room is rapidly becoming a popular meeting plenary.

2018 167

The meeting industry’s biggest dirty secret

Conferences that Work

There are some things that the meeting industry doesn’t like to talk about in public. For example: Revenue models. Who actually paid for all that sybaritic F&B? You’ll never know.). Clients from hell. They might figure out it’s them I was talking about and I need the business.).

Rethinking event formats

Conferences that Work

The other day I attended my lovely nephew Julian’s high school graduation. Ah, the joys of graduation! Where graduates wait in long lines, sit for hours on uncomfortable chairs, get sunburn, and listen to (mostly) boring speakers someone else chose. All to hear their name read off amid hundreds of others, walk across a stage, and get a blank diploma (the real one gets mailed later).

2018 136

22 great iPhone/iPad apps for event professionals

Conferences that Work

Two years have passed since the last update of my favorite iPad/iPhone apps for event professionals. Apps continue to be born, evolve, and, sometimes, die—so it’s time for my latest list of event professionals’ great apps! Read the full article at Conferences That Work.

2017 261

A Practical Guide to Measuring Event Success

Can you measure event ROI? 3 in 5 marketers can't. Learn how with this free ROI model.

Guaranteeing audience engagement at your events

Conferences that Work

Most people won’t ask questions at meetings. So how can you get authentic audience engagement at your events? In a thoughtful article “ Audience Engagement – at the Heart of Meetings “, Pádraic Gilligan writes: “…We all want audience engagement so why doesn’t it take place?…While

2016 296

Three ways to create truly surprising meetings

Conferences that Work

CoffeeGate One sunny morning in 2105, two hundred of us arrived for the opening breakfast at a Canadian conference to discover There Was No Coffee. The young first-time volunteer staff had forgotten to brew it. Three days later, people were still grumbling about CoffeeGate. I’ll bet that even today, if you asked attendees what they remembered about the event, most would immediately recall the There Was No Coffee moment. A memorable moment, yes, but not a good one.

2018 140

The tragedy of wasting valuable meeting time having experts presenting to “learners”

Conferences that Work

Ask attendees why they go to meetings and their top two responses are to learn and connect. Remember kids that ask a question, and when you answer it they say “why?” ” “Why can’t we go outside?” ” “Because it’s raining.” ” “Why?” ” “Well, water’s coming out of the sky.” ” “Why?” ” Be that annoying kid for a moment and ask: “Why do you want to learn and connect?”

2018 162

What’s the best learning model for conference sessions?

Conferences that Work

We don’t usually think about the learning models we employ during conference sessions, and I believe our events would be better if we did. Conventional conferences assume a ready supply of experts to whom we listen while they cover the learning that has been advertised at their sessions.

2016 299

One reason I like science fiction

Conferences that Work

The other day I was rereading Idoru by William Gibson , and the following passage spoke to me. It’s a conversation between two teenagers: Chia McKenzie from Seattle who is visiting Mitusko Mimura in Japan in the near future… Mitsuko was getting her computer out. It was one of those soft, transparent Korean units, the kind that looked like a flat bag of clear white jelly with a bunch of colored jujubes inside. Chia unzipped her bag and pulled her Sandbenders out. “What is that?”

2018 147

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)

The need for early detection of targeted attacks and data breaches is driving the expansion of new and existing SIEM deployments.

Adrian Segar Speaker Tips Interview

Conferences that Work

After a one-day Participate! workshop for Dutch professional moderators, I was interviewed by Otto Wijnen about speaker and presentation tips for making presentations more effective by incorporating active learning.

The architecture of assembly

Conferences that Work

“Architecture sets the stage for our lives; it creates the world we inhabit and shapes how we relate to one another. In a time in which democracy is under increasing pressure in different parts of the world, it is time to rethink the architecture of assembly.”

2011 252

Why experiential learning is superior to every other kind

Conferences that Work

Why is experiential learning superior to every other kind? In a word: feedback. Jerry Weinberg explains simply and concisely. “Why is reading or writing something different from doing something? First consider reading. Reading is (usually) a solitary activity, with no feedback.

2017 218

Four reasons why traditional conferences are obsolete

Conferences that Work

Previously, I’ve described three major trends that make traditional conference formats obsolete: No longer knowing in advance what attendees want to learn ; The rise of online ; and. The massive change in how we learn what we need to know to do our jobs. Here’s a fourth.

Effortlessly Interact with an Entire Audience from Any Location

1,000 Participants. 75 Locations. 1 Solution.

Charles, Lawrence, David Bowie, and me

Conferences that Work

My first public gig as a musician was at David Bowie’s Beckenham Arts Lab. Read the full article at Conferences That Work.

How to inspire transformational learning

Conferences that Work

Why do some learning experiences stay burning in our brains and others fade into oblivion? Read the full article at Conferences That Work.

Six ways to keep attendees comfortable and improve your event

Conferences that Work

While stuck in cramped seats during a six-hour Boston to San Francisco flight recently, my wife gently pointed out that I had become quite grumpy. She helped me notice that my lack of body comfort was affecting my mood.

Should presenter contracts include a no brown M&Ms rider?

Conferences that Work

Van Halen ‘s 1982 World Tour performance contract contained a provision calling for them to be provided backstage with a bowl of M&Ms from which all the brown candies had been removed.

Something is rotten in the state of meeting industry education

Conferences that Work

Over the last five years I’ve heard increasing concern from the meeting professionals community about the deterioration of the quality of our national industry conferences. A recent thread on the MECO community (a great resource for meeting professionals since 2006) describes numerous recent basic logistical failings, and points to what I see as symptoms of fundamental problems with meeting industry associations at the national level.

To build connection and engagement at events — give up control!

Conferences that Work

How can we build connection and engagement with people with whom we work? My wise consultant friend Naomi Karten tells a short story about a client’s unexpected reaction.

2011 250

Why meetings are more important than you think

Conferences that Work

As 2017 begins, take a moment to think about meetings in a wider context. OK, a very wide context. “Who am I?” ” We’ve all wondered about some form of this question.

2012 250

Create Powerful Meetings Instead of Power-over Meetings

Conferences that Work

All meetings incorporate power relationships that fundamentally affect their dynamics and potential. Traditional conferences unconsciously promote and sustain power imbalances between the “speakers” at the front of the room and the audience.

Lessons from Anguilla — Resilience in the Face of Disaster

Conferences that Work

8AM (AST) UPDATE: Eye of #Irma directly on #StMartin , northern eyewall pounding #Anguilla , coms going down. It’s at its worst #HurricaneIrma pic.twitter.com/nda2OJdjjb — Anguilla-Beaches.com (@anguillabeaches) September 6, 2017 On September 6, 2017, Hurricane Irma tore across the tiny island nation of Anguilla. Every power pole was destroyed. Roofs were torn off schools, government buildings, and the hospital.

2018 160

Three ways to make it easier for attendees to participate

Conferences that Work

How do we get people to participate at meetings? We know that participants — people who are active learners — learn more, retain more, and retain more accurately than passive attendees. They are also far more likely to make valuable connections with their peers during the event.

2011 233

Help Wanted—Venues for my participation techniques workshops!

Conferences that Work

The success of my last request for workshop help has inspired me to ask for more.

2016 252

The two must-do steps to hire the best professional help

Conferences that Work

When you need professional help, how do you select the best professionals? Countless experts — such as accountants, plumbers, doctors, lawyers, and meeting planners — will take your money in exchange for advice or services.

2017 234

When event covenants collide—a story

Conferences that Work

I was facilitating a one-day workshop for 24 college presidents. At the start, we agreed to follow six covenants , including the freedom to ask questions at any time , and a commitment to stay on schedule.

2016 256

Avoid this common mistake when planning meeting programs

Conferences that Work

Although I have good reasons to champion meeting designs where the participants get to choose what they want and need to discuss and learn rather than a program committee , there is invariably a place for some predetermined presentations at conferences.

Five reasons NOT to use a Conferences That Work meeting design

Conferences that Work

I’ve been promoting the Conferences That Work meeting format for so long, that some people assume I think it’s the right choice for every meeting. Well, it’s not. Here are (drum roll!)

The Secrets Behind Conference Engagement

Conferences that Work

So you’re holding a conference. How are you going to get your audience tuned in and engaged? Read the full article at Conferences That Work.

It became necessary to destroy the conference to save it

Conferences that Work

When mistaken beliefs about methods and outcomes harden into dogma, harm follows. The professional meeting industry largely believes that: Read the full article at Conferences That Work Related posts: Being Schooled: Inside a Conference That Works “Mad blogger” Sue Pelletier of MeetingsNet has written an excellent article on her experiences at the four-day Conferences That Work format edACCESS 2014 annual meeting I convened in June.

2018 120

When consensus is dangerous

Conferences that Work

Imagine a group of people who need to make a decision about something. As the size of the group increases, the chance that everyone will be happy with what is decided falls exponentially.

2016 241

Practice what you teach

Conferences that Work

When I’m presenting and sharing my conviction that experiential learning is far superior to broadcast learning, it would be pretty hypocritical for me to lecture. It would also be pretty ineffective.

2017 209