Experience Design

APA Gathers in Washington

You belong here….was the theme of the American Psychological Association’s “more than just an annual convention” recently at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Our team had the opportunity to participate and observe both the in-person and virtual event as the post-Covid rebound continues. That theme manifested most successfully in: Intentional content and messaging delivered … [Read more…]

Configurable Conference Journeys

For many annual meetings, the Great Resignation has resulted in erosion of loyal, regular attendees and an increase in first-timers, whose experience can be improved with guidance on the best course for them to follow during your program. In his book, The Paradox of Choice, author Barry Schwartz writes: “Learning to choose is hard. Learning … [Read more…]

Five Smart Strategies for Post Pandemic Success

Last week I attended the National Speakers Association’s (NSA) Annual Meeting, Influence 2023.  As a 25+ year member of NSA, I was eager to see how they would weave in their 50-year anniversary and deliver on a promise to elevate the education and main room experiences. They did not disappoint. Below I’ve highlighted five strategies … [Read more…]

Putting Plan B into Play for Your Main Stage

Last fall, two of our consulting clients were scheduled to have their annual conferences in Orlando. In late September, Hurricane Ian pummeled central Florida, triggering a significant number of flight cancellations. Group No. 1 had no choice but to cancel its in-person event. Fortunately, this association had already planned a digital version of the conference … [Read more…]

Panel Sessions 3.0 for 2023

For years I’ve been a fan of bringing in more outside voices to make mainstage sessions more valuable and deliver more impact. While keynote speakers can still be a significant attendance driver, I think 2023 is the year to resurrect the industry panel. What you don’t want to do is go back to the same … [Read more…]

Do’s and Don’ts: Six Tips to Help Justify Attendance at Your Event

As we progress through the event industry’s recovery to 2019 levels, conference organizers must have a laser focus on helping potential attendees make their business case for attending their events. The best path for helping them get approval to attend is to ensure that the majority of your education program is aligned to advance business … [Read more…]

How to Embrace−and Achieve−Goals to Increase BIPOC Representation at Your Conference

Greater Public (GP), an association whose members are public media fundraisers from more than 240 stations across the U.S., plans the Public Media Development and Marketing Conference (PMDMC) each year, hosting NPR, PBS, and community media stations. After the death of George Floyd in late spring 2020, GP embraced the goal of improving its diversity, … [Read more…]

7 Design Considerations for Your Conference Hub

High-tech user conferences like Dreamforce and Microsoft Ignite have been designing innovative hub spaces to engage and nurture their top customers for years. While some of the elements in these areas can be costly to implement, they don’t have to break the budget. Creating a town-square-like experience can help grow your community through valuable connections. … [Read more…]

5 Post-Pandemic Conference Program Design Changes

“Never let a good crisis go to waste” has become a popular adage in the business world over the past year, for good reason. As it becomes more apparent that face-to-face events will return in some form this year, conference organizers have an opportunity to make changes that would have been more difficult to sell … [Read more…]

Does Your Conference Need an Emcee?

Having an emcee at your event was a nice-to-have prior to 2020. Now it’s a must-have. Talk to any meeting owner who has managed a large virtual event this past year using a skilled emcee and he or she will tell you it made all the difference. An emcee ensures that an event flows seamlessly … [Read more…]