Lessons From Bruno Mars on Audience Engagement

2014.08.20_Hands in the air - in concert CC by Martin Fisch, on Flickr

What can Bruno Mars teach us about audience engagement for our ballroom experiences? Plenty. Earlier this week, I witnessed 7,000 participants (from Linksters to Boomers) stand, clap, sing and dance for 75 minutes at his sold-out Denver Moonshine Jungle concert. If you saw his performance at the 2014 Super Bowl halftime, you already know the enormous talent that’s packed into this five-foot tall young man. The dude is a triple threat! Emotional Journeys Improve the Experience  Bruno … [Read more...]

These Conference Presentation Myths Cramp The Attendee Experience


Most conference organizers see attendees as consumers of the conference’s information. Little thought is given to seeing attendees as active participants in their own learning and experience. 8 Myths That Restrict The Attendee Experience Here are eight conference presentation myths that you should avoid. Myth 1: The lecture or panel best serves all conference attendees. Reality: The lecture and panel are homogenized conference presentations that cause our brains to check out. The … [Read more...]

Increase Conference Attendee Engagement, Intimacy And Participation At Your Next Event

2013.10.10_participation is the new consumption

Have you ever attended a conference by yourself and you didn’t know anyone there? If you have, you’ve experienced a range of emotions from anticipation to anxiousness to concern. If no one acknowledges or welcomes you when you first step onsite, you may feel like an outsider. Conferences can be some of the loneliest places in the world. Tips To Encourage Connections, Intimacy And Participation As conference organizers, it is our job to find ways to encourage participation and foster … [Read more...]

Cheat Sheet: Using Group Talk As Discussions For Conference Education

2013.08.22_The discussion

The evidence is loud and clear that peer discussions are more effective than lectures if memory and knowledge retention, attitude, behavior and skill change, and learning are the goals. Just dividing a traditional lecture into 10 minute chunks and then giving the audience two to ten-minute breaks for time for discussion increases learning. How Discussions And Democracy Are Intertwined Using discussions as a learning method is a valuable and exciting way for revealing diverse … [Read more...]

Five Ways To Combine Conference Lectures With More Effective Education

In principle, there are many education methods that could replace conference lectures. The research is loud and clear that the majority of these education methods are more effective than the conference lecture. Yet, the conference lecture dominates the most conference education. Yes, the lecture has a place. Unfortunately, conference organizers give it too much prominence. To paraphrase Professor Donald Bligh, the heavy reliance placed upon conference lectures and its frequent use as an … [Read more...]

Want To Know Why Your Conference Fails At Changing Behavior?

The traditional lecture, the primary education method of your conference, fails at promoting learning! Yes, it’s true. The conference lecture is only good for transmitting information. (Bligh 1970, 2000). It is not good for changing attitudes, behaviors or skills. (Bligh 1970, 2000) The Lecture Is Good For Teachers Bad For Learners As long as your conference promotes lectures as the primary method of providing education, it will fail at changing behaviors and skills. According to Professor … [Read more...]

Five Key Conference Design Elements Driving The C2-MTL Experience

It's not often that we get a chance to fully immerse ourselves in an extraordinary conference experience. Such was the case for me last week at C2-MTL. If you're a "frequent flyer" here on the Velvet Chainsaw Midcourse Corrections blog, you may recall a post I filed last week as I was midway through C2-MTL. Now that I've had a chance to reflect on the experience in its entirety, there are five critical elements that keep bubbling up to the top. Five things the C2-MTL design team mastered better … [Read more...]

Fostering An Extremely Powerful Tool At Your Conference: The Session Discussion

Can we talk? I certainly hope so! Two-way communication is an extremely powerful tool that your conference needs to foster. Discussions are critical to cement learning in the brain. Without peer discussions, your conference education sessions are nothing more than audio voices blowing in the wind. Let's Talk Talk! We can't get enough of it. Yet often we try to control chatter and talking at our conferences because we believe listening to an expert speak is more important than allowing the … [Read more...]