The sound of a great conference is not the thunderous applause following an inspiring speaker. It is the creaking of our mind's doors and windows opening to fresh vistas and perspectives. It’s the low hum of people talking to one another in pairs about their insights, thoughts, reflections, concerns and opportunities around short chunked critical content. It’s our internal metaphorical brain-gears spinning as our aha-lights burn brightly. Closeted Dirty Presentation Secrets Here’s the … [Read more...]
Some Conferences Are Like Bad Funerals
Many annual meetings are like funerals of the past. Quiet, stoic, painfully long, full of tradition, and extremely passive. It's hard to tell who really died as the audience is just as lifeless as the deceased. Sometimes these traditional conferences have doses of fear and damnation trying to scare people into doing something they don't want to do. That's not the best way to get engagement! Destined To Repeat The Past? Most conferences have clung to outdated modes of thought and action. The … [Read more...]
Are You Designing For The Four Stages Of Conference Experience?
As a conference organizer, are you designing for the four stages of a conference experience? Or are you only designing for attendees to consume information? If you are planning only didactic, one-way, information transfer such as lectures and panels, you are missing some great opportunities to give your attendees a more robust experience. Four Stages Of Conference Experience Most meeting professionals are unaware that there are four stages of an attendee's conference experience. They are only … [Read more...]
Creating Conference Engagement With These Seven Social Spaces
People participate in a variety of behaviors at a typical conference. They enter the conference with specific expectations of what they can do at the event, who they can do it with and what's expected of them. So how often do we plan conferences with a focus on the behaviors and types of spaces that attendees use? Seven Social Spaces The goal of categorizing spaces is to get you to think about what your attendees might be doing in these spaces. And what they might be doing it for. Thinking … [Read more...]
A Conference Learning Manifesto With Ten New Principles To Adopt
We participate, therefore we are. This spin on cogito ergo sum (English: “I think, therefore I am”) is a good motto for all conferences and events. It is exactly where I think conference organizers should begin to focus their meeting planning efforts. They need to focus on designing learning experiences where attendees actively participate, not where they passively consume. Designers Of Experiences Not Schedulers Of Speakers Conference organizers need to see themselves as more than logistics … [Read more...]
These Three Society Changes Affect Your Conference Planning
Those born on or after 1962 have witnessed three major culture shifts. These shifts set them apart from older generations. It also creates new challenges for those trying to create conference experiences for multiple generations. Everyone's expectations are different. Three Major Society Shifts Since 1962 Conference organizers need to acknowledge that the needs of their attendees have changed. They no longer need academic experts, the learned, talking to other academics trying to learn. To put … [Read more...]
Ten Learning Shifts For Conferences, Events And Associations
To paraphrase cognitive scientist and author Cathy Davidson: Our nonprofit institutions, for the most part trade and professional associations as well as professional societies, are acting as if the world has not suddenly, irrevocably, cataclysmically, epistemically changed. Learning Is Changing Learning is changing. Anyone. Any time. Anywhere. By the end of 2011, 2 billion people will be connected to the web. That could be 2 billion predators or 2 billion initiators, depending upon your … [Read more...]
Participatory Conferences And Events: Participatory Design Or Design For Participation?
Here's a test. Pick which statement best defines a participatory conference. A. Conference organizers invite prospective attendees to participate in the development, design and planning of a conference experience. B. Conference organizers design a conference experience using an intentional internal design process however once the conference begins, it invites attendees to contribute, participate and interact. Which did you choose? The Outcome Of Each Method So what happens with … [Read more...]