Velvet Chainsaw

Fostering a Winning Conference Culture

Velvet Chainsaw

I have been struck by the disparity in how an association’s organizational culture translates (or doesn’t translate) to the on-site implementation or planning of its live events. There are many associations that tout their open and supportive cultures.

Transform Your Expo into a Networking and Learning Destination

Velvet Chainsaw

Expos are the most disrupted element of association conferences today.

2019 317

If You Build It, Will Teams Come?

Velvet Chainsaw

This is the second installment of a two-part blog on team learning. In the first , we looked at why it’s a smart conference strategy. In this post, we’ll explore how to design, promote and execute it for your next conference.

2019 367

Five-Step Framework for Effective Collaborative Design

Velvet Chainsaw

Your conference strategy should include a plan to inject fresh content or experiences each year as part of an ongoing improvement process. There are a million ways to make these improvement plans. Some work and many don’t.

2019 293

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.

Looking into the Future of Event Tech

Velvet Chainsaw

Your guidepost for event-technology decisions should be to put your customer’s experience before your staff efficiency. As the event-tech space continues to evolve with a number of mergers and acquisitions, I see four changes coming for larger annual conferences. #1.

Leveraging Team Learning at Conferences

Velvet Chainsaw

Traditionally teams from organizations attend a conference with a divide-and-conquer game plan, as they split up and attend as many different sessions as they can.

Has Your Leadership Evolved For The New Normal?

Velvet Chainsaw

Change is hard. Foresight—looking forward—is hard. Because we prefer certainty and concreteness to ambiguity and abstraction. Becoming a new normal leader requires shifting your perspective.

2019 382

Do You Really Have Them at Hello? Rethinking Your First-Timer Strategy

Velvet Chainsaw

One of my biggest pet peeves is the way some conferences approach first-time attendees. Being intentional and having a plan for how you welcome someone who is experiencing your conference for the first time is not only the right thing to do, it’s also a smart attendee acquisition strategy.

2019 195

The Physics Of Conference Entropy

Velvet Chainsaw

In physics, the second law of thermodynamics says all things—bodies, businesses, conferences, energy, organizations, relationships—move toward chaos and disorder. This is also known as the state of maximum entropy. In one sense, entropy is a measure of uncertainty or randomness.

Effortlessly Interact with an Entire Audience from Any Location

1,000 Participants. 75 Locations. 1 Solution.

Empowering Conference Registrants To See Learning As A Journey Not A Finish Line

Velvet Chainsaw

Do your conference learning opportunities—from the general session to networking to breakouts to deep dive workshops—empower registrants to participate in their own learning journey? Or do your conference education sessions motivate participants to see the finish line?

2019 368

Deliver Superior Conference Education Value

Velvet Chainsaw

Here’s what hasn’t changed: Education continues to be essential to a participant’s experience.

Conference Reform Requires Cultivating Leaders With Moral Purpose To Make A Difference

Velvet Chainsaw

Many conferences are stuck in the rut of legacy routines, age-old rituals and cloned programming. Conference organizers and its advisors replicate the past maintaining the traditions and well-established procedures of yesteryear.

So Teamwork Can Make the Dream Work!

Velvet Chainsaw

Hallelujah! The Washington Nationals won game seven of the World Series to become world champs. This is a huge deal for Washington sports fans and their story should resonate for all of us in the meetings industry as we are dependent on our teams to successfully execute our events.

2019 195

5 Improvements for Event Registration Data Collection

Velvet Chainsaw

It’s difficult to determine what to include — and not include — when collecting attendee data at the time of conference registration. We need to make it easy to click “yes” during the registration process, while also collecting intelligence to drive personalization.

2019 195

Developing Your Conference Story Arc To Activate Participants’ Brains

Velvet Chainsaw

Applying a story arc to the conference can activate participants’ brains. And you want stimulated, motivated engaged brains during your event for sure! A story arc is an extended, continuous storyline in episodic storytelling media such as television series, comic books, video games, films etc.

We Prefer Stories To Stats—The Dark Side of Stories

Velvet Chainsaw

We love stories. They connect on a personal and emotional level. We trust them more than statistical evidence. Unfortunately, we tend to overgeneralize from others’ stories, from anecdotal information and from small sampling sizes.

2019 343

Free-Agent, Lisa Block, Joins Velvet Chainsaw

Velvet Chainsaw

While many have been focused this winter on who is going to land free agents like Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, Lisa Block inked a deal to join the Velvet Chainsaw Consulting team!

2019 323

Emerging Evergreen Conference Practices—From This To That

Velvet Chainsaw

You can never get enough of what you really don’t need says Eric Hoffer. To paraphrase Hoffer, you can never get enough of conference fads, gimmicks and trends. We want more, more, more! Unless your a conference participant and we often have had enough!).

Education Committee: More Advising and Curating, Less Slotting

Velvet Chainsaw

Most meeting organizers invest a significant amount of time creating the educational programming for their annual conference. Models vary, but most include a 15- to 20-person conference committee (slotters) and army of reviewers (graders).

Do Not Be Seduced By Meeting Fads Or Conference Trends

Velvet Chainsaw

Most conference and meeting professionals want the coolest, hippest, latest ideas and trends for their events. We are on the hunt for the next meeting, seating, session format, technology, and food and beverage fad.

Expo Decisions: Attendee Preferences over Exhibitors—Always

Velvet Chainsaw

For those of you who organize large annual conferences and trade shows, there undoubtedly is a chicken-vs.-egg egg debate.

2019 226

How Much Do Sellers and Buyers Trust Our Tradeshow Environments?

Velvet Chainsaw

The most glaring reality I’ve pointed to previously in this space — that three out of four B2B buyers conduct the majority of their research before talking to a salesperson — greatly affects the sustainability of the tradeshow business model.

2019 287

Practicing Conference Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit Of Less And Better

Velvet Chainsaw

It’s hard for conference organizers to stick to planning the essential elements of their events. We are bombarded from every side from people who want us to add their components to the schedule.

Your Conference Needs a Hub To Entice Customers and Prospects

Velvet Chainsaw

At a recent conference consultation with a client, a millennial made me think that I wasn’t keeping up with the times. We were discussing their marketing and communication strategies for their event.

The Tension Between Content And Process In Facilitated Conference Learning Experiences

Velvet Chainsaw

Have you ever attended a conference education session because of the presenter and not the content? (I I think most of us have.). Have you ever been surprised when a full day workshop ended? You were so engaged that time flew by without you realizing it.

2019 292

Making The Common Conference Uncommon

Velvet Chainsaw

Who wants to attend a common, ordinary, ho-hum, everyday , I’m-just-like-all-the-others traditional conference? Even worse, who wants to pay to attend one? And who wants to plan or sell one? Your conference growth and revenue depends upon repeat paying attendees year after year.

Conferences Need More Sharing

Velvet Chainsaw

One of the strongest intangible attributes of a healthy conference is how much sharing takes place. Too often, competition and self-interest get in the way of sharing what’s most helpful.

Use A Conference Story Arc To Shift Your Participants’ Brain Architecture And Strengthen Their Neural Connections

Velvet Chainsaw

We are helpless story junkies says author, journalist, and storyteller Michelle Weldon. We can’t help it. It’s part of our human nature to crave and connect with stories. Your brain on story acts very differently than when your brain is receiving data, facts and information.

2018 299

The Crisis of Connection

Velvet Chainsaw

We’re lonely. And not just a little lonely. We’re experiencing a global epidemic level of loneliness. Last week, the U.K.

2018 363

Our Preoccupation With Solutionitis, Hammers And Nails

Velvet Chainsaw

If all you have is a hammer, everything else looks like a nail. The hammer nail analogy is a common business idiom. It describes the bias that we bring to solving problems based on our personal experience and background. Well, hammer meet nail.

2018 308

Encouraging Words For Professionals On An Association Journey Including Stay Curious And Hungry

Velvet Chainsaw

Encouragement by Kevin Spencer. Nothing we do is inevitable. Our success as association professionals is not inevitable. Achieving a thriving conference and burgeoning membership is not inevitable. We are not guaranteed that our association will stay small or that it will grow big.

2018 323

Time Capsules, Time Machines And Evolution Of Traditional Meeting Planners

Velvet Chainsaw

Is your annual meeting more like a time capsule or a time machine? Conferences that are like time capsules promote and preserve nostalgia and the past. Conferences that are like time machines teleport people to the future so they can discover what’s next.

2018 301

Burn Conference Traditions Immune From Criticism

Velvet Chainsaw

People don’t trust institutions today say sociologist Dr. Josh Packard. We don’t think institutions have our best interests in mind he says. We believe they serve the interests of the professionals who created and run them, and they serve the interests of perpetuating their own existence.

The Right Rewarding Student Strategy For Your Conference

Velvet Chainsaw

Many associations struggle with the right strategy for involving students in their organization and events. Some attract students to join and participate in the organization’s programs and services while still in college.

Are Your Speakers Speaking to Speakers?

Velvet Chainsaw

I wonder about the future of peer review for conference abstracts. While it is a critical filter for high-quality journals, it is a very inefficient process for accelerating innovation and discovery at conferences.

What If Attendees Remember Nothing From Your Event?

Velvet Chainsaw

Yes, what if they remember nothing from your event? Meetings are often so overloaded with material that learning may be hurt more than it’s enhanced,” says Andrea Driessen, Chief Boredom Buster, No More Boring Meetings. Read her article for seven ways to boost learning.).

2016 415

Creating The Highly Energized And Engaged Conference Participant

Velvet Chainsaw

Are 50%-80% of your conference attendees in your programming at any given time? Or are they filling the hallways, hotel spa and lounge, local restaurants, coffee shops and bars conversing with others? Or are they visiting the local tourist attractions?

2016 422

Our Increased Distrust Of Institutions And What It Means To Your Association, Conference

Velvet Chainsaw

“I’m done with !”. Go ahead and fill in that blank with any type of institution. Big business, conferences, education, government, medicine, membership associations, nonprofits, professional societies, religious organizations, trade organizations, etc.

2016 395