Velvet Chainsaw

Normal is Over(rated) – For Now

Velvet Chainsaw

This is a guest post by Joy S. Davis, CAE, based on an email she sent to me after reading Lisa Block’s recent post, “I Am Sorry, But We Are Not All Fine.” Joy is Managing Director, Member Products, for the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists.

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I Am Sorry, But We Are Not All “Fine”

Velvet Chainsaw

I was inspired by a post by Lisa Cowley, CEO of Beacon, who penned a moving article entitled “ It Is Okay Not to Be Okay.” I recommend you read her moving story and then come back. Some days, I can relate! Application for Associations.

2020 265

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Expos Don’t Work Well in a Virtual Environment

Velvet Chainsaw

Virtual Expo Truths. Nearly every conference and trade show professional is searching for that perfect virtual platform or pricing model for replacing lost expo revenue. I’ve got bad news for you.

2020 271

Conference Innovation While Traveling at Warp Speed

Velvet Chainsaw

Navigating change during a crisis is not for the faint of heart. During my career leading association event teams, I regularly recalibrated and redefined team member roles in order to drive innovation and improve our meeting experiences.

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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.

Does the Perfect Virtual Event Platform Exist?

Velvet Chainsaw

The answer, based on my unscientific survey of a dozen association leaders, is a resounding no. Planners are wading through recommendations from colleagues, trusted vendors and online forums to find the best platform for their needs. And it’s a murky and often frustrating experience.

2020 268

Six Attributes of Successful Women’s Conferences

Velvet Chainsaw

This article was originally written for the April issue of PCMA’s Convene magazine. The timing was right before the lockdown and a couple months before the 2020 social justice movement eclipsed.

2020 197

[Webinar] INFLUENCE 2020, National Speakers Association Virtual Experience

Velvet Chainsaw

Meet the brains behind the design of the highly successful National Speakers Association’s INFLUENCE 2020 Virtual in August. Discover how they created memorable experiences, facilitated networking and delivered inspiring general sessions.

2020 231

Leading Through the Pandemic: Generosity + Empathy = Future Brand

Velvet Chainsaw

This is the first in a series of blogs posts, written collaboratively by our team, which uncover lessons learned in advising our clients on their events in the time of COVID-19. Over the past 30 days, the VCC team has helped dozens of conference and show organizers with their decisions on how to respond to the pandemic. Although each situation has its own unique issues, we wanted to share some of what we’ve learned to help you with your disruption response and planning.

2020 269

5 Tips to Guarantee Engagement at Your Virtual Event

Velvet Chainsaw

To design a virtual event with the participants in mind, you need to create an engaging, interactive experience that provides relevant content and promotes knowledge sharing and networking value—often the missing link in our new virtual reality. In this short video , we give you five tips to ensure that you’ll achieve amazing and impactful engagement with your next digital event. The post 5 Tips to Guarantee Engagement at Your Virtual Event appeared first on Velvet Chainsaw.

2020 248

Effortlessly Interact with an Entire Audience from Any Location

1,000 Participants. 75 Locations. 1 Solution.

Event Recovery Food Chain

Velvet Chainsaw

The harsh reality of an elongated recovery for the live events industry has settled in, as we wrote about back in March when we crafted the Event Recovery Food Chain.

2020 199

Will Work for Goodwill

Velvet Chainsaw

Living in Orlando (not the happiest place in the world today) provides a close-up view of the horrific impact the pandemic is having on people and businesses in the live-event, hospitality and travel industries. Nearly all of our association clients are making enterprise-changing decisions to cancel or postpone their marquee events while saying goodbye to their primary revenue source.

2020 253

Monetizing Your Virtual Conference When Competing with Free

Velvet Chainsaw

If you’re inbox is anything like mine, you could spend a good portion of our day consuming webinars, virtual events and networking in Zoom or Facebook Messenger Happy Hours. We’re on content overload and it’s only going to get noisier as the pandemic lingers. The dynamics that we’re seeing impact conferences and their business models are very similar to the Freemium movement we experienced way back in 2009.

2020 238

If You Build It, Will They Come? How Two Large Fall Shows Are Forging Ahead

Velvet Chainsaw

As many associations wrestle with decisions for their fall conferences and shows, the question on everyone’s mind is, if you build it, will they come? Join this interactive webinar to learn how organizers of two very large events—one a trade association and the other professional—are tackling, planning and preparing for this fall. They have two scenarios in mind: hybrid or virtual? Cancellation is not an option. Join us on Tuesday, June 23, from 12 noon to 1 p.m.

2020 223

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.

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. It’s a pivotal time to onboard and help them make connections that will last throughout the conference, and, hopefully, throughout the years as they become repeat attendees. No One Should Eat Alone.

2019 281

Virtual Events: Strategy Before Execution

Velvet Chainsaw

My mother used to tell us that “things are going to be different” as we drove home from our annual summer beach vacation. It was her way of getting the family focused on the upcoming routine and discipline of school and work. I remember feeling that her words were both a warning and a promise of adventures yet to come. That lesson is easily applied to the challenges that lie ahead for associations considering alternatives and augmentation of their future live events.

2020 226

Go Forward, Cancel, Postpone, Wash Your Hands, Rinse … and Repeat

Velvet Chainsaw

The disruption to the live events industry due to the Pandemic COVID-19 is unprecedented and impossible to escape. With the mixed messages coming at us from so many different perspectives, it is difficult to gain clarity. What we may believe personally is sometimes in conflict with the practices organization and business leaders decide to follow. So what is the right path? The answer: There isn’t a simple one.

2020 233

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. But when it gets to “go time,” does that culture manifest at your conferences and meetings?

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!

Invest in Your Speakers to Grow Your Value Proposition

Velvet Chainsaw

The bread and butter of conferences is concurrent education sessions. Keynote speakers and main-room experiences are pivotal for bringing the community together and sharing key messaging, but attendees expect—and deserve—transformational learning (change in ideas, attitudes and behaviors) from curated, relevant and problem-centric educational sessions.

Key Takeaways from PCMA’s Convening Leaders 2020

Velvet Chainsaw

The Professional Convention Management Association’s Convening Leaders in San Francisco In early January served as an engaging and energizing way to kick off a new year and a new decade. I’ve been a regular attendee and active volunteer in PCMA for over 25 years and continue to be impressed at their willingness to take risks and incubate innovative ideas. Here are a few items that are top-of-mind as I’ve reflected on the recent PCMA CL. Innovate + Elevate Arena.

2020 231

What True Learning Is at Participant-Centered Conferences

Velvet Chainsaw

Putting the participant at the center of your conference programming by becoming more learner-centric, that is planning and offering education sessions that go beyond surface learning, is one of the biggest challenges facing conference organizers today. You need to enable participants to find meaningful and mentally stimulating experiences. The knowledge gap between the stage and the audience has shrunk substantially over the past decade.

2019 289

The Future of Face-to-Face is Cloudy

Velvet Chainsaw

I am getting a little overwhelmed by the many predictions that so-called experts are sharing about the future of face-to-face meetings. The range of opinions–from wild optimism to frightening pessimism–is exhausting to wade through. The news cycle of 24/7 pandemic coverage, conversation and debate has obscured the fact that travel and meeting attendance are not always decisions made by companies but by people.

2020 195

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.

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. It means becoming biased towards consistent, persistent evolution, not inclined to keep things the way they are which results in stagnant-status-quo-sameness. Your organization’s sustainable success depends upon you transforming from normal to new normal leadership says Radar’s Tod Martin.

2019 296

Webinar: Monetizing Your Virtual Conference When Competing with Free

Velvet Chainsaw

PCMA is hosting a free webinar on Wednesday, May 13, at 2 pm ET , featuring Dave Lutz and Lisa Block of Velvet Chainsaw Consulting. Webinar description: Monetizing Your Virtual Conference When Competing with Free. Everyone and their brother is hosting webinars and virtual networking opportunities. Like this one, most are free. This topic is a burning issue and promises to be a more engaging experience than most.

2020 191

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. It is the amount of confusion, disorganization and disequilibrium. As your conference matures, it experiences entropy. It moves from a lack of order to disorder.

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. Since our work culture is mostly team-based, it’s about time we reflected it in our conference design. Teams that learn together actually implement together! The fact that it’s also a smart attendee acquisition strategy is the cherry on top. Design for Team Learning.

2019 257

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. The challenge with that strategy is that it’s very unlikely any real change will occur when the one team member who experienced the learning returns to work. Will they share what they’ve learned from a session? Or simply pass on a PowerPoint deck?

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. The event is nothing more than a zombie conference—a conference that appears to be alive yet in reality creates the walking undead. If you want to refresh, reimagine and reform your zombie conference, you’ll need a team of people pushing in the same direction.

2019 275

Renegotiating Live Event Agreements When All Parties Are Innocent Victims

Velvet Chainsaw

This is the third in a series of blogs posts, written collaboratively by our team, which uncover lessons learned in advising dozens of our clients on their events in the time of COVID-19. Although each situation has its own unique issues, we hope you find nuggets to help you with your disruption response and planning. The U.S.

2020 190

Steps You Should Be Taking Now for Your Fall Conference

Velvet Chainsaw

This is the fourth in a series of blogs posts, written collaboratively by our team, which uncover lessons learned in advising dozens of our clients on their events in the time of COVID-19. Although each situation has its own unique issues, we hope you find nuggets to help you with your disruption response and planning.

2020 185

Teach Your Sponsors Well

Velvet Chainsaw

If you, as a conference organizer or meeting owner, think selling sponsorships at your event is just about those four to five days when thousands gather face-to-face, think again. You are worth so much more than that. It’s time to stop devaluing your events, said Kim Skildum-Reid, owner of Power Sponsorship , a firm that specializes in advising corporations and sponsor seekers about effective sponsorship, at a recent workshop.

2020 196

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. We tend to confuse now with “what always is” as if our immediate situation consistently represents the entire universe of similar situations.

2019 267

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. Security is Expensive, but Critical.

2019 248

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. Working with one of our clients, we devised a simple framework to help develop innovative plans for meaningful and lasting change. This isn’t about tweaking schedules, adjusting formats or adding activations at your event.

2019 224

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! Lisa will join our team just in time for opening day – April 2, 2019 – as Executive Vice President, Conference Strategy & Design. Qualified. Lisa is one of the most respected, innovative and experienced event strategy professionals in the majors.

2019 253

Transform Your Expo into a Networking and Learning Destination

Velvet Chainsaw

Expos are the most disrupted element of association conferences today. If you’re still using “tradeshow,” “market place” or “exhibit hall” as names for the area where you feature solution providers—who are there to help your attendees deal with the problems and challenges they’re facing—it’s time for a rebrand.

2019 221