The challenge of many conferences today is that they are like local, indigenous populations using their native tongue trying to talk to foreign immigrants.
The traditional conference experience is out of touch, disconnected and using an outdated model. It fails to connect with today’s generations.
Well, it’s time your conference went EPIC!
Four Stages Of EPIC Conferences
Sociologist, professor and former college president Dr. Len Sweet says that today’s generations want EPIC communication and experiences.
For today’s conferences to succeed, they must step outside of traditional thinking. It is only when conference organizers and hosts move from being static providers of academic information to becoming learners along with their audiences that true transformation happens. They have to create new models and experiences that use a four-step EPIC transformational process.
Today’s generations are not looking for something to believe in or embrace in the traditional conference format. They are not looking for authority figures to mentor them. Instead, they hunger for experiences and connections with others. We have to create a new conference experience that leads to relationship building. It also must be a fresh, new experience that is unparalleled to others, memorable and unique. It has to ignite the emotions and connect with the soul. We must rethink everything we are doing.
Traditional conferences must transition from a performance-based production of pomp and circumstance focused on an expert on stage to an interactive, participatory model. With the explosion of the Internet, we have generations that do not need access to authority figures to receive information. However, they do need authority figures, often their peers, to process and assess that information together. Successful conferences find ways for the attendees to become active participants instead of passive spectators. Today’s generations want to transform and customize the traditional conference format.
For too long, traditional conference experiences have depended upon words. They have to transition to images and visuals. We live in an image-rich, image-based culture. Today’s generations live and die by images. Conferences have to paint the right images for their participants and their industry in order to succeed. The best tools conferences can give attendees are metaphors on images that lead to conversations of change.
Traditional conferences relied on providing a one-size-fits-all experience for individuals. It was up to each registrant to make the most of their experience. The pursuit of individualism has made us hungry for connectedness to community. Today, the conference focus needs to be on connectivity and how we belong to a larger like-minded community. The essence of connectivity is, “I can’t be me without we!”
Change Or Be Changed
What works today, won’t work tomorrow. What worked yesterday won’t to work in the future.
Change is part of the natural process. It is life’s, natural, normative state.
Today’s culture is a change or be-changed world. The word is out. Conferences, reinvent yourselves for the 21st Century or die.
If conferences don’t change and adapt to new times, they will die and decay. That’s why many conference experiences have become nothing but stale, decaying and rotten experiences. Nobody wants to touch them except for the diehards that are accustomed to their rancid odor.
What barriers keep conference organizers from moving from something familiar and traditional to creating new experiences? How can conferences paint more metaphors rich in imagery for attendees?