Creating A Conference Pleasure Rush


Relevant conference content should be the crack cocaine of conference attendees.

It should create euphoria, an alertness and extreme craving for more. The right content for the right audience can create a pleasure rush. When relevant content is presented within applicable context, attendees’ brains get juiced.  

It creates the conference pleasure principle!

Stroking The Brain For The Pleasure Principle

Have you ever had an “Aha” moment? It’s when the light bulb in your head turns on and you finally “get it.”  

You may have responded with, “Ah-h-h,” or “Oh, I see.” You feel a great sense of relief as well as accomplishment. You body may even get a rush.

Solving problems brings pleasure. We like to solve problems.

Any cognitive work (thinking) that leads to success creates a pleasant feeling in the brain that causes a flood of positive emotions within the body. There is a sense of satisfaction, enjoyment and accomplishment when we successfully think through an issue.

The brain even rewards us with a dose of dopamine, the chemical responsible for stroking our brain’s pleasure system.

Conference lessons to apply:

  • Think of content to be shared as answers. Help the attendees understand the questions, the problems.
  • Make sure that the session includes some cognitive thinking (problems to solve). If not, the session becomes a long string of explanations, with little opportunity for involvement or thinking.
  • Ensure that your conference attendees get the pleasurable rush of dopamine from solving a problem. Then they’ll equate your conference with the pleasure that comes from learning.

Creating Conference Curiosity With Staying Power

Problems that are easily solved do not lead to a dose of pleasure. It didn’t feel like much of a problem from the beginning.

Similarly, working on a problem without any progress leads to frustration. We don’t get the dose of dopamine. Rather we me get the dose of cortisol, the hormone related to stress.

If the problem is too difficult to solve, or the content doesn’t maintain interest, attention is lost.

Conference lessons to apply:

  • Make content and problems interesting by explaining how they are relevant to attendees.
  • Being told an answer does not pique interest. It’s the questions that pique interest. Design conference education with the end–the answer–in mind. Then consider the key questions that might engage the attendees and respect their cognitive limitations.

Curiosity Never Killed The Conference Cat

People are naturally curious. We like uncovering new ideas, solving problems and pursuing hobbies.  In fact, we like mental activity…well some mental activity.

Curiosity is actually fragile. Content may prompt interest but it does not necessarily maintain it.

Content that is too difficult to understand can cause us to lose interest. It kills our curiosity. Content that is too simple causes boredom.

Conference lessons to apply:

  • Session descriptions must be written to entice and ignite curiosity.
  • Education sessions should be “accurately” labeled for beginners or those with prior experience with the topic.
  • Respect some attendees’ cognitive limits. If attendees lack the appropriate background knowledge or experience with the topic, the content quickly becomes boring.

How can those responsible for the logistics of the meeting ensure that those responsible for experience create content that aligns with the pleasure principle? What are some things we can ask speakers to do so that attendees get a dose of dopamine during their sessions?

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