So go downtown Things will be great when you're downtown No finer place for sure, downtown Everything's waiting for you* *Downtown as sung by Petula Clark. Take A Mental Stroll It’s time to take a nostalgic journey downtown on Conference Street. Visualize yourself walking down a traditional city lane. Both sides are lined with the usual buildings. Each structure houses a long-established institution. What do you see? Think of your conference experience as one of these various … [Read more...]
Our Screwed Up Thinking About Creating Conference Experiences
As conference organizers, we need to learn about the power of experience. Well, we already know about experiences. We have them all the time. We’ve had experiences with our families and friends. We’ve had experiences with work. We’ve had school experiences. We’ve had experiences with institutions and organizations. We’ve had vacation experiences. Terrible, Horrible, No Good Bad Thinking About Experiences Unfortunately, we’ve made some very faulty assumptions from our own experiences. And … [Read more...]
Establishing A New Model To Select Conference Content And Programming
Is it time to end the speaker call for proposals? Does the traditional open call for topics and speakers actually meet the conference audience’s needs? The traditional call for volunteer and professional speakers is a roll of the dice that the submissions meet the needs of the conference attendees. Too often staff and committees rely on the call for proposals to fill their conference education programming. There is little to no attention given to ensuring that the content is the right … [Read more...]
Does Your Conference Promote The Wrong End Of A Telescope?
“How much are our attendees willing to pay?” It is a question that many conference hosts and organizers frequently ask when they begin planning their events. It’s like asking the question, “What topics do you want to hear at next year’s conference?” Instead of asking, “What’s keeping you up at night?” Challenge is that this stumble is classic. It is something that happens all around us on a daily basis. The Typical Grand Stumble Higher education and universities keep pushing the same old … [Read more...]
Does Your Conference Foster These Five Core Attendee Experience Principles?
The experience matters! It is one of the most (over?) used business phrases today. Most business professionals agree that the experience matters to consumers. As consumers, we even agree that our experiences with brands and organizations drive our future buying decisions. So why is it that most conference organizers do not focus on designing the best conference experience possible for all of its stakeholders? Instead, we focus on logistics and details claiming that “designing the … [Read more...]
Why Conference General Sessions Should Be More Like The Olympics
The 2012 London Olympics were an interesting diversion from U.S. politics, the scorching heat and a questionable economy. They captivated our attention as we rooted for our countries, the underdog and individuals that had overcome great odds. Even when an athlete from another part of the world broke some amazing record, we united with our support and awe. Their win was the water cooler discussion in the office and the buzz of Twitter. Being More Olympic-like So why aren't conference … [Read more...]
The Next Big Conference Job Of The Future: Conference Content-Curator-Strategist
Most organizations receive hundreds of emails and phone calls asking about their speaker call for proposals. In one of my past jobs, we received 30-50 inquiries a month from professional speakers trying to land a speaking gig. And we were flooded with industry speaker requests as well. We hated those inquires. They were like speaker spam to us! And rarely did we hire someone who interrupted our work day with a cold call! Developing A Conference Content Strategy The challenge for conference … [Read more...]
Dying, Boundary And Emerging Meeting Practices: Barbecuing The Sacred Cow
Does your organization have any meeting planning practices that are sacred cows? Don't you wish you could grind them up for a barbecue? Well, it's time to kill those traditions and make way for new, emerging ideas. e4 2011 Innovation Labs Recently I attended Experient's e4 2011 conference, "Outside the Lines" as one of their Innovation Lab Facilitators. Participants didn't move from breakout to breakout each day. Instead they committed two days to deep dives in facilitated collaborative … [Read more...]