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09 Jan

The Power of Proximity: What cocktail receptions, selfies & mirror neurons tell us about designing better meetings

A conversation with speaker and author David Meerman Scott and speaker bureau veteran Andrea Driessen A marvelous, new book about fandom has significant implications for the meetings industry. I recently devoured Fanocracy: Turning Fans into Customers and Customers into Fans, by top speaker and author David Meerman Scott and daughter Reiko Scott. In this lively back-and-forth with David, we’ll examine a critical—and actionable!—concept from David’s book as it relates to events: proximity. Andrea: I loved your book Fanocracy, David. There’s so much in it to explore, all of it relevant to today’s business climate. You devote a chapter to the idea of proximity, referring to the level of closeness among people. For our purposes here, let’s consider these people event attendees. Why is proximity so important at meetings and events? David: Thank you Andrea! I’m honored that you read Fanocracy and thrilled that you enjoyed it. Writing the book with my 26-year-old daughter has been a fantastic experience for me. I remember about a decade ago when many people were predicting the death of physical events. Because the pendulum has swung too far in the direction of superficial online communications at a time when people are hungry for true human…

04 Sep

How can panels and Q&A sessions become unquestionably better? The answer: With these 10 best practices

By Andrea Driessen, Chief Boredom Buster, No More Boring Meetings While panels and Q&As can be memorable meeting elements, they’re usually sub-optimized and predictable, short on insights and long on length, unmoored and formulaic. Wouldn’t you rather offer engaging dialogs, energetic interplay, tangible takeaways, friendly arguments, authentic debate and purposeful experiences with a sum greater than the parts? Your audiences would like that too. So, without question, I recommend these 10 best practices. FOR MORE POWERFUL PANELS: 1-Make sure everything about the panel—just like every element of your entire event—is designed and delivered from the audience’s point of view. While you will of course choose panelists because they have specific, valuable points of view, whatever the moderator asks and however panelists respond must be in service of the audience. For example, this point of view is in service of the panelist: “When I was President of BigTechCo’s retail division, we showed our clients how to integrate Internet of Things technology into existing business models faster than any other firm.” This comment is in service of the audience: “IoT is constantly evolving. The most important step you can take is to use a secure framework for building your sales plan. Here…

30 Jul

Transforming the Corporate Offsite to Inspiring & Participant-Owned

A Client Case Study © 2019 Eric Wong, Exember Partner Synopsis: A Fortune 500 company had a history of unproductive, top-down leadership meetings that didn’t move the dial on critical initiatives or address the elephant-in-the-room topics. The company had been wildly successful at their core business where they are market leaders but were struggling to innovate in newer areas where they faced significant competition from more established players. As well, they were aware of the need to augment their culture from one focused purely on technology and top-down leadership, to one that also emphasized diversity of thought and interactive leadership, with openness to more candid discussions across leadership levels. With support from meeting design consultancy Exember, a No More Boring Meetings consulting partner, the group experienced a 1.5-day offsite for 250 leaders in their “top 5%,” which was structured around the Adaptive Leadership model (HBS) to foster the right conversations about current challenges and how to reach new levels of performance. When Exember first met with the client, it was clear that there was a lot on her mind after their last leadership summit failed to meet expectations: “I just don’t think the last meeting cut it — people were…

09 Apr

What’s missing in virtual communication—and in boring meetings (plus 3 things to do about it)

By Andrea Driessen, Chief Boredom Buster, No More Boring Meetings Like many meetings and events, virtual communications are often boring, unemotional, forgettable, one way and lacking in purpose. Turns out, many of the techniques for improving how we communicate virtually help us improve the in-person meeting experience, too. Let’s explore these realms a bit deeper with insights from Dr. Nick Morgan. He’s one of America’s top communication theorists and coaches, and speaks worldwide on communication, body language, storytelling and executive presence. His latest book is Can You Hear Me Now? How to Connect with People in the Virtual World. As Nick explains, when we meet face to face, whether in groups or 1:1, we have the benefit of vocal tonation, body language, gestures, eye contact and intention. With these multi-sensory inputs as a foundation, we build trust, connection, emotionality and empathy with others. You might assume that all meetings offer these same foundational sensory cues. Yet that’s not always the case, and that’s where boredom, disconnection, a lack of empathy and lackluster results seep in. That’s why I recommend using the following tools and guidelines so your virtual and in-person meetings will are richer, interactive, story-driven experiences that address our…

Joe Calloway interacting
05 Mar

Great leaders don’t give speeches

By Andrea Driessen, Chief Boredom Buster, No More Boring Meetings A speaker bureau veteran saying that great leaders don’t give speeches….?! Whaaaat….? Oh, yes. And here’s why. In his new book, The Leadership Mindset, top-tier presenter Joe Calloway shares how he’s come to realize that the most effective  meetings feature conversations—not speeches. Leaders of the most successful gatherings, says Calloway, “Talk with their audiences in a way that conveys ‘Here’s what I want to share with you…let me tell you about it…” It brings with it an attitude of “Let’s go on this journey together.” It’s not a preachy monologue. And it’s certainly not a “lecture.” Joe adds: “Every meeting is an opportunity to inform in a meaningful way and to create alignment, engagement and commitment….Leaders today must consider that the days are coming to an end of meetings and conventions where people spend six or more hours a day sitting in straight rows in total silence listening to lectures. “…People want to engage and interact, whether it’s online or in a meeting. We are shifting from having ‘attendees’ to having ‘participants.’…Think of it this way: Can you imagine anyone planning a meeting today and saying, ‘We don’t want our…