Conferences that Work

Make the meeting bigger!

Conferences that Work

Most of the event industry and our clients continue to assume that if you can make the meeting bigger it’s a good thing. It ain’t necessarily so. How we got here. The massive disruption of in-person events since March 2020 has shaken our industry to the core.

2022 240

Focus on learning, not education

Conferences that Work

For better meetings, we need to focus on learning, not education. Yes, sometimes, cultural or professional “requirements” mean we have to provide education. That’s so we can “certify” that we’ve educated attendees to some prescribed standard.

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Did anyone learn anything?

Conferences that Work

The meeting is over. Did anyone learn anything? And how would you know? An EventTech Chat discussion.

2021 272

Stooa review — a free online fishbowl tool

Conferences that Work

I’m a big proponent of fishbowls as a tool to manage wide-ranging group discussions. (To To learn in detail about the use and implementation of fishbowls and fishbowl sandwiches , see Chapters 29 and 30 of my book Event Crowdsourcing.)

2021 244

Download 7 Exceptional Event Email Templates for Driving Attendee Engagement

Write winning event emails in minutes! Relying on decades of social science research and more recent behavioral data, we’ll show you the science-backed methods to creating a wildly successful event-marketing email campaign for almost any situation. Download the eBook today!

Are in-person events COVID safe?

Conferences that Work

September 2021 — Are in-person events COVID safe?

2021 298

These aren’t the unconferences you’re looking for

Conferences that Work

I’m noticing that event promoters are increasingly using the word “ unconference ” to describe traditional conferences. <Sigh> <Sigh> Please stop doing this! There’s a big difference between unconferences and traditional events.

2021 268

An affordable air quality tool for meeting planners

Conferences that Work

The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the in-person meeting industry.

2021 258

The fairest rules for meetings

Conferences that Work

What are the fairest rules to use when running meetings? This might seem like an odd question. You might ask, “Fair to whom?” ” or, “What do you mean by fair?”

2021 240

Good meeting design is cheaper than special effects

Conferences that Work

Far too much money is spent on meeting glitz at the expense of good meeting design. Seth Godin makes an analogous point in this post…. Good writing is cheaper than special effects. “In movies, that’s obvious. It costs far less to make The Big Lebowski than a Marvel movie.

A Master's Guide to B2B: How Listening to Your Customers Can Grow Your Business

Speaker: Adam Dorfman, Head of Product Growth at Reputation & Michele Bettinazzi, Customer Experience Manager at PeakMade Real Estate

Improved marketing conversion, happy customers, and faster growth - that’s only three things that can be accomplished by just listening to your customers. Customer feedback is an extremely invaluable tool to keeping retention high, attracting new business, and improving the general operations of your business. The question is - how do you capture all this? Join Adam Dorfman, Head of Product Growth at Reputation & Michele Bettinazzi, Customer Experience Manager at PeakMade Real Estate, for this essential discussion on the ins and outs of brokering the optimal customer interaction.

It’s not an entrance it’s a layer

Conferences that Work

At a Marlboro Music Festival rehearsal last week, I heard the words entrance and layer used in a single sentence. And it made me think about meeting design. Marcy Rosen, right, leads a rehearsal. The rehearsal. On August 8, my wife and I attended a rehearsal of Beethoven’s String Quartet, Op.

2021 279

Hub and spoke meetings

Conferences that Work

Ever since my first encounter with the hybrid hub and spoke meeting topology at Event Camp Twin Cities in 2011, I’ve been a big fan of the format. Yesterday [see below], I realized that hub and spoke is a great format for purely online meetings too. But first….

2021 291

Can you hear me now?

Conferences that Work

I do not have a magnetic personality. I would never have been cast as the lead in the classic ad series “ When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen “ Yes, I’m a recovering academic, so I love to talk. But that doesn’t mean that people always hear me.

2021 234

Mediate connection in the Age of Entanglement

Conferences that Work

What do we need to understand to mediate connection effectively today? Inventor and computer scientist Danny Hillis gives us some helpful context: “We humans are changing. We have become so intertwined with what we have created that we are no longer separate from it.

2021 232

Negative Reviews & Online Feedback Happens - But Where Do You Go From Here?

Speaker: Adam Dorfman, Head of Product Growth at Reputation and Jeremy Shubitz, Director of Marketing at Bosley

Responding to online negative feedback can be challenging. What should you say? What should you not say? Should you even respond? In today's, your customers will be not only your biggest advocates but also your biggest critics. However, negative feedback can offer actionable insights to build a stronger product and customer experience.

How to stay on time at online meetings

Conferences that Work

Tired of meetings that don’t end on time? Who isn’t? Things were bad enough when we held our meetings in person. Now so many meetings are online, it’s easy to saddle remote workers with back-to-back meetings. When one overruns, you’re late to the next one. Hey presto, your tardiness snowballs! And, no, you can’t be on two Zooms at once without going through tortuous hacks.) Sure, sometimes you’re at the mercy of others.

2021 184

How to provide new experiences at meetings

Conferences that Work

How can we provide new experiences at meetings? Not new F&B, decor, or glitz. Something deeper. Here’s a story…. A memorial service. Last month, I staffed an online memorial service for E, a friend who died tragically, at age 42, of breast cancer.

2021 255

Venue ventilation for COVID-19

Conferences that Work

Attention, meeting planners! Safe meeting venue ventilation for COVID-19 is critical. As we start thinking about returning to in-person events, it’s crucial to check that venues are upgrading their HVAC systems to handle potentially virus-infused air.

Venues 303

How meeting professionals can measure and improve event ROI in a post-pandemic world

Conferences that Work

[My June, 2021 guest post for BlueJeans by Verizon on event ROI.]. What is event ROI? Return On Investment (ROI) is such a familiar business concept that it’s easy to gloss over the complexities of defining it in the context of events.

2021 271

Dive Into Your Inventory Data (and Add Substantial Profits to Your Bottom Line)

Speaker: Ian Foster, Sculpture Hospitality Regional Director West Coast

In this seminar, Ian Foster will discuss the basics of inventory management, including tips on how to get inventory right and how to evaluate your food and pour costs. Ian will examine the best ordering practices from our clients. Finally, he’ll share some case studies showing how well designed inventory control can uncover hidden losses from over-pouring and lost sales that will result in several thousand dollars of extra profit every month.

Why our meetings are still full of lectures

Conferences that Work

Why are our meetings still full of lectures? Well, listen to and consider this June 11, 2021 quote from New York City Mayoral frontrunner Eric Adams : [link]. With new technology of remote learning, you don’t need school children to be in a school building with a number of teachers.

2021 277

Moderating Online Panels — Ideas and Resources

Conferences that Work

Last week I immensely enjoyed participating in a two-hour Zoom brain trust on moderating online panels. So good, it should be shared with a wider audience. So here’s a treasury of good ideas and resources we uncovered.

2020 323

A novel way to assess consensus

Conferences that Work

Chapter 44 of my book The Power of Participation explains how facilitators use participatory voting to provide public information about viewpoints in the room, and pave the way for further discussion. In particular, we often use participatory voting to assess consensus.

2021 285

Words will never hurt me

Conferences that Work

Growing up, just about every child experiences name-calling. I certainly did. Sometimes I’d tell my mum, and she’d repeat the childhood rhyme: “ Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. ” Oh, if only that were that true!

2021 248

Maximize Your Profit Margins

Speaker: Shawn Imbeault and Geoff Loukes, Sculpture Hospitality

In the past year, we've learned that maximizing margins can determine whether your restaurant stays afloat when times get hard. Join Shawn Limbeault and Geoff Loukes, in this master class that will take you through the best practices of maximizing your margins, From FOH to BOH.

How to start online meetings on time

Conferences that Work

Is it possible to routinely start online meetings on time? But first…. Think about the last three meetings you attended. Raise your hand if all of them started on time. Anyone? Anyone? Why don’t scheduled meetings start on time?

2020 341

Gamification makes about as much sense as chocolate-dipped broccoli

Conferences that Work

Gamification “makes about as much sense as chocolate-dipped broccoli” Education professor Amy Bruckman , coined this analogy in a 1999 paper on game software design: “Most attempts at making software both educational and fun end up being neither.

2021 297

Powerful Panels interview with Adrian Segar

Conferences that Work

Here’s my Powerful Panels interview with good friend and meeting panel doyen Kristin Arnold. During our 25 minutes together, we discussed various panel formats, their value, and how to structure and design powerful panel discussions into the larger context of meetings, conferences, and events.

2021 251

The meeting industry new normal

Conferences that Work

Many event professionals are hoping and waiting for a meeting industry new normal. The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated our businesses. We want to believe that, at some point, in-person meetings like the ones we’ve held for decades will return.

2020 320

Restaurant Management Masterclass

Speaker: Harlan Scott, Founder of Harlan Scott Hospitality and Industry Restaurant

Due first to necessary staffing cuts, extreme safety protocols, and now the need to rehire against outsized government stimulus, unemployment benefits and wage requirements, managing and staffing have become the most urgent conversation in restaurants today. This, adding on to the lynch-pin management style restaurants often have, has made restaurant cultures more vulnerable and volatile than ever. If your restaurant is suffering from cut staff, low morale, or ineffective training, you've come to the right place. Join Harlan Scott of Harlan Scott Hospitality, learn how to get back in control of your restaurant and your operation back on autopilot.

Support the bottom — a Thanksgiving reminder

Conferences that Work

After our prime Thanksgiving dinner, I was sleepily washing a large turkey foil platter when I noticed its embossed central message: “Support the bottom.”

2021 177

No, I do not hate in-person meetings

Conferences that Work

I’d like to be clear that I don’t hate in-person meetings , despite what some have been posting recently on a Facebook group for meeting professionals: “Often wondered why so many on this feed hate live events.”

2021 271

Presentation versus interaction at meetings

Conferences that Work

What is the mix of presentation versus interaction at your meetings? What should it be? Traditional meetings focus heavily on presentation. Interaction is limited to a few questions at the end of sessions, plus conversations “outside” the formal sessions.

2021 212

Are Online Meetings Reducing Our Collective Intelligence?

Conferences that Work

Are online meetings reducing our collective intelligence [CI] ? New research from Carnegie Mellon has been widely interpreted as concluding that, for example, “Zoom is actually less effective than a phone call” , and “Video conferencing can hurt collaboration” Not so fast.

2021 248

A Masterclass in Restaurant Digital Transformation

Speaker: Jay Coldren, Alex Barrow, and Greer Kimsey, Street Sense Team

Behaviorists say it takes 21 days to solidify a habit. 365 days of quarantine later, it's safe to say that our customers will be keeping some quarantine habits. At the center of these habits is the digital world: online ordering, advertising, booking, reviewing, etc. It will become essential for restaurants to create omni-channel experiences for customers, and to market them effectively. Join Jay Coldren and his team in this masterclass to learn the tactics for dominating the digital restaurant sphere.

The meeting industry new normal — Part 2

Conferences that Work

The meeting industry old normal is over, and many event professionals are hoping and waiting for a new normal. See Part 1 of this post for an introduction to this point of view.]. What will the meeting industry new normal look like?

2020 302

The four meeting professionals you meet in heaven

Conferences that Work

The essential characteristics of meeting professionals. If there is a heaven on earth in the event industry, there are four essential characteristics of successful meeting professionals you’ll meet there.

2021 261

Please don’t call them virtual meetings

Conferences that Work

I’ve been noticing a strange trend, ever since COVID-19 caused just about all bread and butter meetings to vanish. Suddenly, people are calling the meetings we’re holding these days virtual meetings. In the immortal words of Bob Newhart. Stop it! Virtual.

2020 322

Lessons learned from online meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic

Conferences that Work

The Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO) has published some useful lessons learned from organizing six online scientific meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is my summary of what I think are the most interesting findings, plus some commentary.

2021 213

Restrictions Into Opportunities: How to Make Your Restaurant Succeed

Speaker: Patrick Cottrell and Joe English

Whether your state allows outdoor dining, takeout only, or a little bit of both, we're here to help. Join Patrick Cottrell and Joe English from Sculpture Hospitality, for a webinar on Jan. 26th, and get your restaurant to thrive in face of pandemic restrictions