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18 Sep

Balancing Careful with Creative: A Case Study in Event Risk

By Andrea Driessen This post is excerpted from my forthcoming book, “The Non-Obvious Guide to Event Planning: For Kick-Ass Gatherings that Inspire People,” available later this fall. The events industry tends to view risk as a danger to be avoided. We have (and need!) complex contractual clauses that address indemnity, force majeure and liability. We use carefully crafted checklists, so events run effectively. After all, who wants to risk it? Then we invite imperfect, easily bored guests whose attention spans we cannot control. We host folks who crave novelty, surprise, creativity and cutting-edge ideas. As we consider risk on a continuum, I believe there’s an inherent—and crucial—boldness in trying something new with our programming design and not knowing, for certain, whether it’ll work. For us to truly raise the bar on and positively change the overall event experience, we need to change. And change doesn’t happen in the middle. It happens on the edge, where it’s uncomfortable.

23 May

A Powerful Story of a Quadruple Win

Don’t we all love success stories?! See how a nonprofit succeeded in spades–four times over–as they: Drastically increased live and virtual event attendees Boosted overall event revenue Secured more sponsorship dollars AND Showcased a cutting-edge event technology When a nonprofit tackles such a difficult issue as childhood trauma, you had better believe that there are truly passionate people behind that effort. For Victoria Peattie Helm, Executive Director at NW Children’s Foundation (NWCF) and Kelly Lynch Reimer, NWCF Program Manager, uniting people to end child abuse and neglect is part of their day job. And they will do everything that they can to fulfill this mission. Their signature event, The NWCF Forum, plays a big role in helping to raise both awareness and engage the community in their mission. THE PROBLEM: When the 2018 Forum sold out with over a month to go before the event, they realized they had a demand from people who wanted to engage, but they had no more room at the venue. Victoria and Kelly had a goal to bring together as many people as possible for a community conversation on early childhood trauma and resiliency, and they were determined not to let venue constraints limit participation. That’s when they reached out…

16 Jan

Why you Need an Event Producer

By Cynthia Bishop, who is a freelance event producer and project manager with over 22 years’ experience producing live, broadcast, and virtual events for corporations, non-profits and creative agencies in over 11 countries, in venues ranging from hotel ballrooms to stadiums. Whether it’s an executive keynote, product launch, press event, multi-day conference, world tour, or all of the above, she ensures your events are successful and memorable. We all want to create the very best meetings possible, so audience have a great experience. So, what do you gain by hiring a producer to augment your team? A producer provides the success infrastructure so participants can consume the information your presenters deliver with all the attention they can give it. Producers ensure all the required equipment and supporting staff are in place; that the audience can fully see and hear the information; that presentation flow is seamless. That the atmosphere onsite is calm, cool, confident and collected—not chaotic. And that you are free to focus on networking, logistics, important partner meetings, and PR—not trying to run presentations at the same time. Current strategy behind presentation development recommends changing up the content every eight minutes to help keep the audience’s attention. People…

03 Jan

9 critical ways to transform meeting uncertainty into event success

By Andrea Driessen The new year often fosters lots of possibility—and plenty of uncertainty. One area where none of us want to experience uncertainty is our speaker line up. So I’ve codified 9 critical steps we at No More Boring Meetings use to eliminate as many elements of uncertainty as possible. While we can’t control the weather or the actions of global political leaders, we can and I believe must do the following to control the controllable and ensure our events sizzle. 1-Offer up: When you’re making offers to speakers, do you ask for everything you need? A content conference call, media interview(s), social media posts, post-event follow up? You’ll avoid disappointment and gain conference buzz when these points are covered in the offer and therefore are part of your planning and execution. Better to over-ask than to forget a key request, as you may be out of luck if you inquire after the contract’s been signed. 2-Easy strategy: On the conference call, discuss: why was this particular speaker chosen? How does he or she fit into meeting goals and the organizational mission? Better to over-communicate here than leave out key info. 3-Do you know who I am? Be sure…

17 Sep

ACK! Q&A is NOT engagement

© 2017 Andrea Driessen You likely have had this experience: You ask speakers how they’ll interact with attendees, and some say, “I’ll add Q&A at the end.” As if that will solve the problem. It will NOT. It’s a LAZY solution. Audience engagement does NOT equal Q&A. Sure…a handful of folks may feel engaged when the speaker answers their questions. But the rest? They’re often tuned out, as the Q is frequently irrelevant at worst, moderately interesting at best. So what CAN you do to boost engagement? A few easy-to-roll-out formats:  1-Post-Program Pair-Up This is a simple, powerful exercise I’ve designed to increase networking and the likelihood of positive change. Whether you have 5 or 5,000 attendees, near the end of your program or event, have participants find partners. Each dyad discusses new goals they want to reach in the next 60 days. They record their objectives—plus each other’s contact information—and together commit to reaching these milestones. Smaller audience? Take commitments to a higher level: invite everyone to state their goals before the whole group; sharing publicly means you’re more likely to succeed. 2-Solve the “unsolvable” with Cricking Think of historical figures, celebrities or someone outside your industry. Then talk…