Conference Trend: Taste On A Toothpick

Like moth to the flame, mosquitoes to blood or honey bees to pollen, the mall crowd surrounded the young man.

Piranhas Devouring Their Prey

They looked like a frenzied group of piranhas, devouring their prey. They were driven by the opportunity for a taste on a toothpick. The chance to sample food. To digest and discuss together.

As a child, I used to love going into the Hickory Farms store in the mall. It was a smorgasbord of tastings on a toothpick.

Today I enjoy frequenting Central Market, HEB’s unique grocery store. Their maze of fresh produce and organic offerings tantalizes the senses. Everywhere you turn you can have a taste on a toothpick. It’s a foodie’s culinary extravaganza. Their theme, “Chew with your mind open,” resonates.

The Taste On A Toothpick Lures

In each of the cases above, the taste on a toothpick whets the appetite. A glimpse into what the customer could have. A lure to get a person to bite on a larger product. It influences thinking and persuades. 

It is never the full meal, just a sampling. It is not a brochure, pamphlet or flyer about the company and its products. It is not a data-dump report. It is a bite-size taste.

It is not about the company. It is about the customer.

Your conference education sessions should be like a taste on a toothpick. Bite-size morsels of protein that enlighten the mind, tingle the tongue and warm the soul. They should be like explosions of ahas that motivate and persuade.

It Is Not About

It is not about:

  • Providing a four-course meal within each education session.
  • Offering a year’s worth of meals so attendees can hoard information and stock up for the dry season.
  • An all-you-can-eat smorgasbord buffet of everything and the kitchen sink.
  • Creating a content-lush meal that infuses the full range of spices from Allspice to Zafora.

Those things cause attendees to feel bloated, over-stuffed with information.

It Is About

It is about being intentional and providing chunks of content flavored with relevant, take-aways that can be applied immediately. It’s about letting the taste on the toothpick melt in their proverbial mouths of the mind and gently unravel with layers of intense flavors and goodness.

Your job as a conference organizer is to find speakers that act as fine cooks and provide protein-rich, spice-infused content. Presenters that create chunks of content created for the brain to connect with, digest, recall, remember and apply.

Your job is to secure presenters that have restraint. Those that encourage attendees to discuss their taste on a toothpick with each other.

Your Conference Is The Feast

Content is king. Engagement is queen. The attendees are the kin-dom, the community. Your conference is their feast.

And you as the conference organizer are the executive chef that brings its all together.

Providing the right tastes on a toothpick draws a crowd. People flock around good content. And they engage with each other as they digest it.

Intentionally securing presenters that understand this concept creates a more successful, memorable conference.

Hat tips to Mike Sansone and his post Taste On A Toothpick that sparked my brain down a similar path.

Why do we think conference education needs to be the encyclopedia of a subject or topic? Why does a  taste on a toothpick of content resonate with us?

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jeff Hurt and nancyrubin, Tahira Endean. Tahira Endean said: RT @JeffHurt: Conference Trend: Taste On A Toothpick #eventprofs #pcma […]

  2. Mike Sansone says:

    Great extension and some tasty metaphors here, Jeff. Fantastic conversations take place around hors d’ourves worth talking about.

    Love the executive chef, menu planning….great story!!

    Thanks for improving the recipe:-)

    1. Jeff Hurt says:

      And thank you for getting me started thinking in this direction. I love your thinnking “hors d’ourves worth talking about.” You started this rich analogy…thank you!

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