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30 Apr

6 more fresh meeting formats to powerfully engage participants

(A continuation of the blog posted immediately below) To generate ground-breaking ideas for meetings, I first ask: “How will we engage meeting participants in ways that could never be experienced outside of this event? This one question elevates and disciplines event design. It also generates engagement tools that are exceptionally suited for building more meaningful connections among participants and delivering content that makes long-term impacts. Whether your time slot is five minutes or five days, what makes meeting formats fresh and effective? To expand on ideas for meeting formats, I reached out to author, speaker and cutting-edge event designer Jim Gilmore. In producing unique meeting formats, Gilmore, co-author of The Experience Economy, draws from a rich mix of footprints and techniques. Regiception: Participants typically use receptions to just connect with those they already know. Foster fresh energy and easy networking with a “Regiception”—a mash-up of your registration and opening reception at which attendees mingle and register to experience something truly new. Include food, drink—and a variety of themed activities, such as throwback board games, so multi-generations can play with and learn from each other. Small group? Savor a Lunch of One. Feed them both physically and mentally with a “lunch of one” as you…

23 Apr

7 fresh meeting formats to powerfully engage participants

To generate ground-breaking ideas for meetings, I first ask: “How will we engage meeting participants in ways that could never be experienced outside of this event?” This one question elevates and disciplines event design. It also generates engagement tools that are exceptionally suited for building more meaningful connections among participants and delivering content that makes long-term impacts. Whether your time slot is five minutes or five days, what makes meeting formats fresh and effective? Focused: apply it to a specific subject to boost takeaways Flexible: caters to a range of skill levels, ages, audiences, topics Functional: Can stand alone or be integrated into the larger event. (The 20-minute TED format is crazy-popular because it can be inserted anywhere in an agenda. Or you can string together 20-minute segments to form the entire meeting.) Fun: people want to engage and participate, and the learning environment is relaxed to stimulate creativity With these “Four F’s” in mind, let’s consider meeting formats that engage attendees in innovative ways. What’s cutting edge today, in the same way that TED, Pecha Kucha and Open Space were once novel? Seven great options: Post-Program Pair-Up is a simple, powerful exercise I’ve designed to increase networking and the…

29 Jan

5 MORE un-boring ways to open your event

As we discussed in my last blog below, boring meetings begin predictably: Thank yous to sponsors, announcements of new leadership, a hello from the host city’s mayor. Of course, we all love sponsors, leaders and mayors. But what’s your audience thinking and feeling? That your event is going to be the same old, same old. They tune out before the program can even get going. On the other hand, non-boring, engaging meetings begin with unexpected approaches that immediately gain people’s positive attention, build buy-in for your entire event and create unprecedented event buzz. Try these simple, affordable ways to open your event—and then let the Tweeting begin! Consider: what is your organizational equivalent of the iPad release? Then announce this milestone or achievement as your opener. Plant and spread what infotainer Brian Walter calls a “verbally viral” idea. These are concepts that take hold quickly, as they positively build buzz and boost learning. A literally fascinating speaker and author of the book “Fascinate,” Sally Hogshead offers audiences a tool for opening her keynotes in a distinct way that builds buzz and buy-in weeks before people even get to the room. As a benefit to registration, attendees have access to a…

22 Jan

5 new & un-boring ways to open your event

Boring meetings begin predictably: Thank yous to sponsors, announcements of new leadership, a hello from the host city’s mayor. Of course, we all love sponsors, leaders and mayors. But what’s your audience thinking and feeling? That this is going to be the same old, same old meeting. They tune out before you can even get going. On the other hand, non-boring, engaging meetings begin with unexpected approaches that immediately gain people’s positive attention, build buy-in for your entire event and create unprecedented event buzz. Try these simple, affordable ways to open your event—and then let the Tweeting begin! Have a custom song written for and about your organization. You’ll create a one-of-a-kind moment in time that will be remembered long after the last verse. Need resources? Click here. Invite a marching band or drummers to usher attendees to and through your room. Your local high school or university will likely come at no or a low cost. Or hire the exceptionally talented Drum Café. In advance of your event, hold a contest for the best “year-in-review” commemorative video (or some other category that fits for your event). Then announce the winner by showing his or her video as the opening…

02 Nov

ATTENTION: Why you need to gamify your next meeting

By Andrea Driessen, Chief Boredom Buster, No More Boring Meetings What is your organization’s most valuable asset: Employees? Customers? Intellectual property? Leadership? Brand? I believe your most valuable asset is none of the above. Your ace in the hole is actually something more intangible, yet invaluable: The attention of employees, customers and meeting attendees. After all, to successfully recruit an executive, sell a product or stage a meeting, you must first capture someone’s attention. (Doubt it? Have you made it to this part of the magazine without thinking about checking your email, whether to have more coffee or what might be Tweet-worthy?) Getting—and keeping—the attention of audiences is the holy grail of our industry. And when you’ve captured people’s attention, they will be more focused, more able to learn, more likely to have the mental bandwidth and social willingness to collaborate and solve pressing challenges. So, what’s an exceptionally powerful way to create meeting content that’s worth participants’ attention? There’s actually an “app” for that: a well-designed game aligned with your meeting objectives. Participatory games, like meetings, teach us that we are all connected—and in the language of this publication, that we are all One+. Going it alone, playing “solitaire,”…