“I see you,” is a phrase used by the Na’vi of the movie Avatar when they greet one another.
While it literally means “I see you,” the Na’vi use it figuratively to mean “I see into you” or “I understand you.”
The phrase is more than a greeting. It is an acknowledgement.
An acknowledgement that means you and I are part of the bigger whole. That we are in this together. That there is something marvelous in you. That I acknowledge we are connected and alike in many ways.
Validating Your Attendees
Every one of your event attendees enters your conference with the following unspoken questions in their mind:
Do you see me? Do you hear me? Do you understand my challenges and needs? Does what I say mean anything to you?
Everyone wants to be validated. Everyone wants to be heard. Everyone wants to be seen at a deeper level than just their outward appearance.
Yet, do you acknowledge these concerns? Do you think about these basic needs when you are planning an event?
How often does your conference experience give the microphone to the attendee?
How often does your schedule allow time for participants to speak to each other? To acknowledge each other. To listen to each other. To hear what each is saying on a deeper level. To say, “I see you!”
All of us come to a conference with a sense of unworthiness.
We silently question, “Will I be accepted? Will others acknowledge me? Will I connect with others?”
We all share a common desire. We want to know “Do I Matter To You?” (DIMTY)
Does what I say mean anything to you? Can you understand me without judging me?
It’s time to acknowledge your conference participants.
Greet them at the registration desk with, “We see you. We hear you. What you say matters to us.”
Make sure that your entire conference experience revolves around validating your participants. Plan the experience with them in mind.
Networking sessions are not enough. Those are normally focused on meeting others to find people that can help you get ahead.
You need to schedule time in each education session where participants can talk with each other about the content. Where they can share their experiences. Their success and their failures. Where they can empathize and say, “You matter to me.”
Meeting Planning As A Gift
Do you see each event as a gift to serve your customers? Or is just an obligation that you must perform to get a paycheck?
Is your heart aligned with a vision of service to help your participants feel validated?
Your beliefs, your passion, your soul actually makes an impact on their conference experience. The registrants can feel your intention and energy. They know what your aim was in the planning process.
So, what energy do you bring to your event during planning and implementation?
Are you willing to take responsibility for the energy or the lack thereof that others experience at your event?
What are some other ways that we can help conference participants connect and feel validated? What type of conference experiences make you want to return because they acknowledged you?