May 17, 2011 by Jeff Hurt
In the next 12 months, you have a choice to make.
Reimagine your annual meeting and mix it up. Or keep it the way it’s always been done.
A yes promises a breakthrough in helping your conference participants improve their effectiveness and professional careers. It promises a new, fresh and exciting experience. It promises something different in the world of factory line, cloned copies. It promises something memorable.
Yet it would come at substantial risk. It would require a considerable investment of time and energy. You would have to think about it. You would need to work on it.
A no would be safe. Maybe even prudent.
You would not have to work at it. You could use last year’s schedule and replicate it. You could secure the top industry speakers from last year. You could recruit the same exhibitors and sponsors. You could even duplicate last year’s event marketing plan.
Yet it would lead to a status-quo, common, safe experience. It probably would not be very memorable.
I am rarely inclined to take the safe course. I am always in the re-mode: reimagining, rethinking, reinventing, revising, repurposing, refreshing, reworking, revamping and restoring. I personally think it’s important to keep things fresh, new and unexpected.
Sure I would like to have some proof. Proof of concept, proof it works, proof of viability, proof of sustainability, proof that attendees would respond positively.
Unfortunately, that’s not how life works. Is it?
We attend colleges we barely evaluated. We marry relative strangers. We bear children without knowing how they will change our lives. We take jobs on hunches and hopes, buy houses on whims, take vacations on dreams, purchase transportation based on likes.
Life is one proof-less decision after another. Then we live into the consequences, celebrating the positive, trying to learn from the negative.
Even if we had proof, we probably would dismiss it. Why? For those that want to do it differently, the zest of living is the dreaming, the trying, the risking, the self-discovering.
For those who want to play it safe, the new and risky are rejected. It’s easier to look backward and debate stories already ended.
What we need is belief. Belief that we can do it. Belief that mixing it up leads to good things. Belief that new directions create new adventures. Belief that change is good. Belief that new experiences count. Belief that failure is a normal part of the learning process.
Belief needs a starting point. It needs a “Ready, set, go!’
Then belief lives on hopes and hunches, dreams, imaginings and yearning.
Belief is permission to risk.
Mostly, belief lives. Belief becomes the basis for trying one proof-less venture after another. Belief stands at new college dorm room or crib or new office or new conference venture and says, without any proof whatsoever, “I can do this. I can do this.”
I believe you can!
What keeps us from acting on our beliefs? How can we get over our fears of failure and take the first steps towards doing it differently?
Filed Under: Event Planning
How do you take the first steps toward “doing it differently?”
I believe the first steps are post-event dissonance. when I’m looking for opportunities to work with clients while at a trade show, I always ask them, “How the show going for you?”. If I get an answer similar to, “This show sucks!”, then I know I have an opportunity. dissonance or dissatisfaction creates an attitude of risk and change.
As planners, when we encounter dissonance, we need to look at it in this light. We do not need to defend failures, for out of them can come the Phoenix of new growth and energized creativity.
I like the way you phrased it, “When we encouter dissonance…we do no need to defend…for out of them can come the Phoenix of new growth.” Those are wise words.
Thanks for reading and sharing your insights.
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