Conferences that Work

COVID-19, in-person meetings, and wishful thinking

Conferences that Work

This is not an easy post to write. The pandemic’s impact on lives and businesses has been devastating. COVID-19 has virtually eliminated in-person meetings: our industry’s bread and butter.

2020 291

Stop treating adults like children at your conferences

Conferences that Work

Please stop treating adults like children at your conferences. For an exception, see the end of this post.). With children there’s an argument for broadcast-style learning. Schools originally developed as establishments for improving the efficiency of oral communication of information.

2020 225

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Designing an online memorial service

Conferences that Work

I am designing an online memorial service, to be held later this month. The deceased is not a person, but a beloved, 74-year-old small college that closed its local campus a few months ago. I taught there from 1983 – 1993.

2020 180

Review of online social platform Rally

Conferences that Work

Adding to my reports on new platforms providing online incarnations of traditional conference socials , here’s a review of online social platform Rally. Two points before we start.

2020 197

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.

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? The reason that almost no scheduled meetings (in-person or online ) start on time is that we provide one single time for meetings to both open and start.

2020 233

Which meeting design books should I buy?

Conferences that Work

Here are five meeting design books I especially recommend. Each gets a short overview, so you can figure out which one(s) will satisfy your wants and needs. In an outrageous display of chutzpah , I wrote three of these books. [If

How to create great online breakout sessions

Conferences that Work

How can we create great online breakout sessions? Does this sound familiar? You attend a conference session on a topic that interests you. Perhaps you’re a novice, or an expert, or someone in between. Or perhaps you want a general introduction. Perhaps you have a few specific aspects you want to hear about, or questions to which you’d love to get answers. The presenter begins, and you quickly realize the session is not going to meet your needs. (Or,

2020 207

Share information; don’t hoard it

Conferences that Work

Why would you want to share information, not hoard it? In today’s cutthroat business environment, isn’t exclusive knowledge synonymous with power — and the ability to make money? Well, if you’re a stock trader or house flipper, maybe.

2020 290

How to implement participant-driven breakouts in Zoom

Conferences that Work

Why implement participant-driven breakouts in Zoom? I’ve been designing and facilitating participant-driven and participation-rich in person meetings — aka peer conferences — for almost thirty years. Because participants love these meetings ! Now the covid-19 pandemic has forced meetings online. Unfortunately, most online events are still using a traditional webinar/broadcast-style approach: presenters speaking for long periods, interspersed with chat-mediated Q&A. Why Zoom?

2020 228

Effortlessly Interact with an Entire Audience from Any Location

1,000 Participants. 75 Locations. 1 Solution.

Schedule breaks during online meetings!

Conferences that Work

Providing downtime during any meeting is important , but it’s especially important to schedule breaks during online meetings. What happens if you don’t schedule breaks during online meetings. Some people have the attitude that attendees at online meetings are grown-ups and they should be given the freedom to take a break when they want and/or need to. Let’s explore this. Obviously, there are times when online meeting participants need to take a break.

2020 230

TWO Eventprofs Happy Hours on Friday on a new online social platform — Rally!

Conferences that Work

I’m holding TWO #Eventprofs Happy Hours next Friday, August 7, at 10:00 EDT/16:00 CEST and 15:00 EDT/21:00 CEST. The first one is especially for you Europeans who insist on living your lives five or six hours ahead of mine, but night owls are welcome at the later one too.

2020 181

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. I’m sorry, but when I think of a virtual meeting, this comes to mind…. together with content like this….

2020 203

How to support a community online during covid-19

Conferences that Work

How can you support a community online during covid-19? Over the last few weeks I’ve run numerous online Zoom meetings for support groups and local, social, and professional communities. In the process, I’ve learned a lot about what makes these meetings most useful for participants. I’m sharing what I’ve learned (so far) here. Key takeaways. Breakout room functionality is essential for your online meeting platform.

2020 235

[Free Guide]: How to Run Virtual Events with Confidence

Virtual events open up a whole new world of possibilities for engaging your attendees. This best practices guide will help you make the most of your online conferences, summits, keynote presentations, and more.

The meeting industry coronavirus silver lining

Conferences that Work

Despite the terrible impacts of the coronavirus on the meeting industry, there’s a silver lining. Hear me out! There’s no question times are hard. The coronavirus pandemic has already devastated lives and businesses globally, and we don’t know how much worse things will get. The meeting industry is reeling under a wave of cancellations, postponements, and uncertainty.

2020 226

How eventprofs are feeling during COVID-19

Conferences that Work

How are eventprofs feeling during COVID-19? Over the past few weeks in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic, I’ve listened to hundreds of people share their feelings at online meetings I’ve led and joined.

2020 216

How to implement participant-driven breakouts in Zoom — Part 3

Conferences that Work

Part 1 of this series of posts gave an overview of what’s involved in implementing participant-driven breakouts in Zoom. Part 2 explains how to prepare for The Three Questions using Zoom breakout rooms. Read them before diving into this post!

2020 198

Free workshop — Experience The Three Questions, Friday, June 26

Conferences that Work

I’m leading a free online workshop on Friday, June 26, 12 – 2 pm EDT, that will give you a unique opportunity to experience The Three Questions : in my opinion, the best way to open a conference designed for active learning, connection, and engagement. The workshop is limited to sixty people, and you must register to attend. Full details about the event are available here.

2020 173

CMOs Pivot to Virtual Engagements to Drive Business in the COVID Economy

Speaker: Mike Damphousse, Managing Partner of Category Design Advisors and Founder of Green Leads

Business as we know it is never going to be the same. Working from home has become the norm, conferences and meetings are going online, marketing budgets are being shifted, reduced or put on hold – it's time to adapt. Join this insightful and informative webinar with Mike Damphousse, Managing Partner of Category Design Advisors and Founder of Green Leads, who will discuss how businesses can be resilient during these challenging times.

A free guide to creating peer conferences

Conferences that Work

The Association for Software Testing (AST) has just issued a free guide to creating peer conferences. I believe the software testing community adopted my term “peer conference” for their get-togethers after a conversation I had with pioneer software tester James Bach in 2004.

2020 220

The best way to hold a discussion online

Conferences that Work

What’s the best way to hold a discussion online? For years I’ve been successfully facilitating in-person group discussions at meetings, using the simple fishbowl and fishbowl sandwich processes. These techniques work because at any moment, only a small, clearly defined, (but constantly changing) group of people are involved in the discussion. As a result you can moderate an interesting, orderly discussion with hundreds of people, any of who have an equal opportunity to speak.

2020 154

Being Present in the Age of the Mind Outside the Brain

Conferences that Work

The other day, Celia and I were walking in Boston’s beautiful Arnold Arboretum when she asked me who’d responded to an email I’d sent. When I pulled out my phone to answer her question, she said she felt she was walking with a third person, a stranger.

2018 298

Any questions? Rethinking traditional Q&A

Conferences that Work

How often have you heard “Any questions?” ” at the end of a conference session? Hands rise, and the presenter picks an audience member who asks a question. The presenter answers the question and picks another questioner. The process continues for a few minutes. Simple enough. We’ve been using this Q&A format for centuries. But can we improve it? Read the full article at Conferences That Work The post Any questions?

2019 262

Game-Changers 911™: How to Change the Event Game in 2020

Speaker: John Storm, President, BrainStorm Network

In this webinar, we’ll use a sampling of case studies, tools, techniques, and strategic stories to help you identify game-changing opportunities within your company and the world of events, and then brainstorm ways to capitalize on these ideas. Get ready to change your game in 2020!

How to entwine content and connection during an online conference

Conferences that Work

How can we entwine content and connection during an online conference? During a MeetingsCommunity (MeCo) discussion thread “ Networking at conferences ” last week, Sharon Fisher posted this. Sharon’s post. Hi all, I am coming in very late to this conversation, but figured it’s never too late to share.

2020 146

Why you should hire curious people

Conferences that Work

Why should you hire curious people? Because the future of work belongs to the neo-generalist. And neo-generalists are intensely curious. Here’s Harold Jarche, explaining the importance of generalists: Wicked problems need neo-generalists. Neo-generalists defy common understanding.

2019 206

The top educational meeting format

Conferences that Work

What’s an Ideal Meeting? April 2018, Meetings and Conventions Magazine Do you incorporate participatory sessions into your events?

How to implement participant-driven breakouts in Zoom — Part 2

Conferences that Work

Part 1 of this series of posts gave an overview of what’s involved in implementing participant-driven breakouts in Zoom. Read it before diving into this post! In this post (Part 2) I’ll cover most of Step #1 of the previous post: preparing for The Three Questions using Zoom breakout rooms. If necessary, get familiar with Zoom, including breakout room functions, before proceeding.

2020 166

Why Smoking Costs Employers More Than They Realize

Your employees are smoking, and at a cost of $7,000 per year for each employee who smokes, that adds up - fast! This free report will show you how an effective cessation program pays for itself.

Unlearning is crucial for change

Conferences that Work

Unlearning is crucial for change. We often think of change as additive. We become wiser by “learning something new”. What we often overlook is that changing our beliefs, attitudes, and assumptions involves unlearning as well as learning.

2020 190

Leadership, Events, Shackleton, Survival, and Hope

Conferences that Work

If you missed David Adler ‘s & my closing keynote Leadership, Events, Shackleton, Survival, and Hope at Untethered2020 , you can watch it at the end of this post.

2020 156

How I got here

Conferences that Work

How I got here? Schoolboy days. I have little memory of my earliest formal education though I suspect it has informed my entire life. My mother decided that I should attend London’s Chelsea Froebel School.

2020 170

Two tools for online conference socials: Gatherly versus YoTribe review

Conferences that Work

If you can’t hang out with people in person, how can you best meet up with your tribe online? That’s the selling proposition for a host of new platforms that have sprung up over the last few months: creating a compelling online incarnation of the traditional conference socials we all know and love (or hate). Last week I got to try out a couple of these new platforms, so I thought I’d write a Gatherly versus YoTribe review.

2020 146

What I wear for running

Conferences that Work

Exactly one year ago, at the age of 68, I started running daily for the first time in my life. Since then, I’ve shared a few things learned along the way. Today I thought: why not provide a seasonal guide to what I wear for running? Note: There are no affiliate links in this post (or on this website), and I have no connection with any of the sellers or companies mentioned.]. How far do I run?

2020 131

When association leadership loses its way

Conferences that Work

Is it OK for a U.S. 501(c)(3) non-profit association to make large profits, pay its four top executives well over $1M per year, and yet do little for its members?

2018 263

Squaring the circle: creating room sets for connection

Conferences that Work

Meeting planners typically default to squaring the circle when specifying room sets. They persist in seating attendees in long straight lines whenever possible, ignoring the benefits of curved and circular seating at their events. See Paul Radde’s Seating Matters: State of the Art Seating Arrangements for more information.) The architecture of assembly where curved theatre seating dominates, teaches us otherwise.

2019 223

How to run a human spectrogram map

Conferences that Work

Whenever I open a meeting I run a human spectrogram map, allowing participants to quickly discover everyone at the meeting who lives (or works) near them. This is one of the most useful things you can do for a group of people who don’t know each other — and it only takes a few minutes!

2020 180

Have I Met You Before? Three ways to minimize embarrassment when meeting people

Conferences that Work

An embarrassing incident I was hanging out at the Marlboro South Pond Regatta , a whimsical affair where local sailors of all stripes and abilities casually “race” around a few buoys in the lake, sometimes stopping to chat mid-race with each other or watch our beautiful loons.

2018 265