5 Post-Pandemic Conference Program Design Changes

Velvet Chainsaw

As it becomes more apparent that face-to-face events will return in some form this year, conference organizers have an opportunity to make changes that would have been more difficult to sell up the ladder in the past. Long-term traditions can deter next-generation conference participants.

2021 231

Conference Innovation While Traveling at Warp Speed

Velvet Chainsaw

Not every effort was a rousing success but attempting to inject new conference elements made us more nimble, creative and smarter as a team. What should we expect for hybrid or virtual conference attendance? Navigating change during a crisis is not for the faint of heart.

Travel 363
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2021 Virtual-Conference Big Ideas

Velvet Chainsaw

In 2020, attendees, sponsors, and exhibitors were more forgiving of our virtual conferences than they will be in 2021. Use this opportunity to beta test changes that can be carried over to the next in-person conference.

2021 224

Designing conferences to solve participants’ problems

Conferences that Work

What makes attending conferences worthwhile? As I described in Conferences That Work , the two most common reasons for attending conferences are to learn useful things and make useful connections. But there are numerous other ways that conferences provide value to stakeholders.

2021 286

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.

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. As your conference matures, it experiences entropy. As a conference professional, you know this to be true. It is also the natural law of evolution for any conference. Working to create a great conference experience for your customers is no longer a good baseline for success to paraphrase Conrad.

Fostering a Winning Conference Culture

Velvet Chainsaw

But when it gets to “go time,” does that culture manifest at your conferences and meetings? Her boss apparently thought she should spend all her time out “doing meeting planning” and not hanging out in a hotel conference room. Make colleagues and vendors feel welcome and involved in conference operations. Conference staff are not able to do everything! How can you make your conference culture more open and transparent?

Beyond Hybrid: Repackaging Your Conference Content

Velvet Chainsaw

Over the past nine months, many industry experts have proclaimed that meetings and conferences are forever changed and hybrid is here to stay. Conference content product management requires a good deal of business acumen.

2021 224

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? Your conference growth and revenue depends upon repeat paying attendees year after year. And your customer loyalty is built upon making your common conference uncommon. Routine Been-There-Done-That Conferences. When your conference experience is no-frills run-of-the-mill…. And when your conference content can be found on the web for free….

Top 2020 Event Conferences

Attendease

The events industry has been behind some of the most innovative tech conferences in the past decade. Opening the doors for new business prospects, these conferences are places where the top professionals meet and showcase their innovative concepts and bold theories for the future.

2020 261

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 249

Six Attributes of Successful Women’s Conferences

Velvet Chainsaw

While things have changed, these tenets will hold true and the principles can be applied to other D&I conferences and events. The six attributes of women’s leadership conferences that have stood out for me: [1] Movement. Women’s conferences are often shorter one or two-day programs.

2020 250

Monetizing Your Virtual Conference When Competing with Free

Velvet Chainsaw

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. Go ahead and read Seth’s post and then come back for the linkage to conference monetization.

2020 357

Get Conference Inspiration from Trusted Peer Connections

Velvet Chainsaw

In spite of all the bad, there is also much that is positive for the next phase of association conferences. The post Get Conference Inspiration from Trusted Peer Connections appeared first on Velvet Chainsaw. Conference Planning Hybrid & Virtual

2020 207

More Conference Physics: Inertia

Velvet Chainsaw

However, a conference at rest, tends to die. The enemy of most conferences is the way it’s always been. When inertia influences your conference, it’s planned by the way you’ve always done it, programmed full of (past) best practices and destined to become average, slowly suffocating on its own status quo. Cognitive and organizational inertia keeps an association on its current conference course even when facing disruptive or rapid external changes.

Make your entire conference a braindate

Conferences that Work

Why not make your entire conference a braindate? I like the braindate approach , but it doesn’t have to be something that’s grafted onto a conference. Because good event design is about how a conference works. Instead make your entire conference a braindate!

2019 251

Webinar: Monetizing Your Virtual Conference When Competing with Free

Velvet Chainsaw

Webinar description: Monetizing Your Virtual Conference When Competing with Free. Lisa Block, Executive Vice President, Conference Strategy & Design, Velvet Chainsaw Consulting. COVID-19 Uncategorized digital event monetize pivot from live to virtual virtual conference

2020 300

Conferences Need More Sharing

Velvet Chainsaw

One of the strongest intangible attributes of a healthy conference is how much sharing takes place. Professions that deliver conference sessions with a high level of sharing – not diluted or generalized from the stage – are often in fields linked to prevention, healthcare, education and philanthropy. Conversely, conferences that have a higher deal-making quotient tend to hold their cards closer to their chests.

Star Struck: Identifying Your Conference North Star

Velvet Chainsaw

The North Star is the perfect metaphor for your annual conference purpose. When your conference purpose serves as a North Star, it guides all decisions, tasks, behaviors and strategy. Uncovering Your North Star Conviction To Find Conference True Target Market. Before your conference can find its true target market, you as the conference organizer must find your conviction. What’s your conference conviction? What’s your conference North Star?

Emerging Evergreen Conference Practices—From This To That

Velvet Chainsaw

To paraphrase Hoffer, you can never get enough of conference fads, gimmicks and trends. Unless your a conference participant and we often have had enough!). They also want access to your conference budget. Evergreen conference practices that have promising results are often obscured by our obsession with fads and trends. To avoid being fad-like in our conference planning process, here are seven emerging evergreen practices to consider and invest in instead.

2018 285

Developing Your Conference Story Arc To Activate Participants’ Brains

Velvet Chainsaw

Applying a story arc to the conference can activate participants’ brains. You can use the story arc concept to carefully craft the messages and issues you want your conference participants to explore, experience and learn. Your conference narrative can serve as a call to action for your participants to play a pivotal role in resolving that challenge personally and professionally. So exactly how do you use a story arc for your conference?

2018 295

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 want to know what unique things other conferences are doing so we can borrow their ideas. We pursue fads, gimmicks and trends as the silver bullets of our conference woes. We expend resources searching for the mysterious conference trend panacea. Conference trend and fad bandwagons. What was the last conference trend bandwagon that you jumped on?

2018 268

Five Reasons to Change Conferences

Conferences that Work

Here’s my article “ Five Reasons to Change Conferences “ , published in the December 2018, NSA Speaker magazine. OUTSIDE IN Five Reasons to Change Conferences Peer sessions provide greater connection around content The most important reason people go to conferences is to usefully connect with others around relevant content. But our conference programs still focus on lectures, where a few experts broadcast their knowledge to passive listeners.

2018 200

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. What if you flipped that model and designed conferences that offered learning aimed at improving team collaboration and changes back in the workplace? Yet conferences are lagging in meeting the needs of team learning. The post Leveraging Team Learning at Conferences appeared first on Velvet Chainsaw.

2019 264

Nine conference mythodologies

Conferences that Work

Here are nine mythodologies about conferences. At least half the sessions programmed at traditional conferences are not what attendees want. Mythodology: A “ conference curator ” can improve the quality of your conference content. Reality : Sadly, conference curators don’t exist. Mythodology: Conference programs should be stuffed full of sessions so there’s something of interest for everyone.

The Conference Owner’s Guide: From Conference Touchpoints To Journey Experiences Part 1

Velvet Chainsaw

Too often conference and meeting professionals assume that their role is best suited to planning and executing the conference. I get that from the education section or the conference technical teams.”. However, savvy meeting professional know that their conference’s success depends upon moving from customer fragmented touchpoints to designing holistic conference customer experience journeys. They own designing the conference customers experience journey.

If You Design Conference Experiences, Read This!

Velvet Chainsaw

As conference organizers, why can’t we also have a fun, fulfilling, and collaborative experience planning and designing the conference? Here are six ways to focus on designing your team’s experience during your next conference planning process. Read more about embracing your conference as a giving field here. It may seem paradoxical at first as we are used to focusing outward on the conference outcomes. The post If You Design Conference Experiences, Read This!

Conference Innovation Through Paradigm Busting

Velvet Chainsaw

These mental models are deeply embedded in our conference planning and management practices. Savvy conference organizers realize that their mental models have much more influence over their outcomes than their decisions and actions. To be successful in the future, conference organizers must become paradigm busters–examining, challenging and changing their conventional mental models. This is especially true of our conference mental frameworks.

27 years of peer conferences

Conferences that Work

The first peer conference I convened and designed was held June 3 – 5, 1992 at Marlboro College, Vermont. So, as of today, the community of practice that eventually became edACCESS has enjoyed 27 years of peer conferences. Twenty-three people came to the inaugural conference. 27 years of peer conferences. Read the full article at Conferences That Work The post 27 years of peer conferences appeared first on Conferences That Work.

Great Questions Define Great Conference Experiences

Velvet Chainsaw

It is much more effective to provide opportunities for conference participants to solve their own problems, then telling them how to solve it. Conference organizers automatically assume that if someone is attending their event, they expect the conference to help them solve their problems. They believe that the conference should provide the answers. Telling attendees the answer is not the key to conference success.

2016 280

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. Conference organizers and advisors can breathe new life into their events.

2019 285

Conference Networking with Conference Compass

Event Industry News

At conferences and other knowledge-driven events, sessions and presentations are always great conversation starters. Contact Conference Compass to find out more. Live events are all about bringing people together.

Burn Conference Traditions Immune From Criticism

Velvet Chainsaw

Your association, annual conference, and governance are all institutions. One of the sacred cows for associations and their annual conference is attributing notoriety to the office of the president, board chair or annual conference committee chair. Smith’s year” or “Sally’s year” when referring to past annual conferences. If your conference includes a presidential address, reception, or other similarly branded event, you probably need to make some changes.

2018 228

What Participants Expect From 21st Century Conference Experiences

Velvet Chainsaw

Everything we take for granted about conferences, and planning them, faces disruption. Participants from all generations and cultures increasingly expect conferences to mirror their work and personal lives. They expect conferences that are authentic, connected, contextual, mobile, participatory, work-related and transparent. Savvy conference organizers meet these disruptions head-on. Key Drivers To Make The 21st Century Conference An Experience.

2017 297

Deliver Superior Conference Education Value

Velvet Chainsaw

Here’s what has changed: I’m convinced that “something for everyone” programming — including basic content for the novice or intermediate practitioner — is no longer the right strategy for positioning your conference as a can’t-miss experience. To distinguish your conference from the also-rans, you want your participant’s learning and understanding to grow from the ubiquitous “data and information” categories to “wisdom.” How Conference Sessions Can Deliver on Wisdom.

Configurable and Personalized Conference Experiences

Velvet Chainsaw

The mass-personalization wave that is dramatically changing what and how we buy as consumers has application to conferences. Application to Conferences. In my opinion, the first item — individualizing a conference experience for every attendee — isn’t scalable today. But most conferences are already designed to be configurable, by providing attendees with options — concurrent sessions, pre-conference workshops, and ticketed functions, for example.

Six Conference Paradigms To Bust Immediately

Velvet Chainsaw

If there’s something strange in your conference-hood. Our cognitive frameworks—our mental models and paradigms—shape our thinking, behavior, operations and success of our conferences. We falsely believe that future conferences are just an extension of the past. We have to bust our conference paradigms to avoid seeing our future through the lens of our old paradigms. Here are six conference business paradigms that we should examine, bust and replace with new models.

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. As a conference professional, it is your mission each day to keep your focus on the essential elements of your event for your customers’ sake. Some of essentialism’s guiding ideas apply well to business and conferences. Most conferences exist to help their primary target markets progress and advance in their industry, profession and trade.

2019 239

Mediocrity Is Your Biggest Conference Competitor

Velvet Chainsaw

Your real conference competition is not that event held six months after yours. Today’s technology driven, hyper-connected, instant gratification, real-time world puts you as a conference organizer in a difficult position. You’re expected to deliver highly participatory, forward-thinking, experience-driven, sensory-laden, learner-centered, performance-focused conferences that move the needle for your customers. Have you normalized conference mediocrity as acceptable?

The Conference Owner’s Guide: Steps 2-5 To Transition From Conference Touchpoints To Journey Experiences

Velvet Chainsaw

Once you’ve observed the conference through the lens of your target customer and gained insights from conference data, you can move to the next steps. These steps are critical for you and your conference planning teams to embrace, enlist and employ. You want to move from conference touchpoints to conference customer experience journeys. And remember, someone needs to own and to advocate on behalf of the conference customer’s experience.