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,”…

29 Oct

Why Sweaty Meetings are Successful Meetings

By Andrea Driessen, Chief Boredom Buster We all know that a great physical workout builds up a sweat. Not the most pleasant experience in the moment, and yet the extended benefits are what we’re after: a clearer head, a more toned body, a longer life. The same can be said for a mental workout. And the best-designed meetings will ensure participants experience enough intellectual vigor that they mentally sweat—and gain important takeaways. So how do you design and run a meeting that’s worth the sweat? 3.5 ways: 1.    Make sure your meeting solves a specific problem Begin with the end in mind by identifying your top meeting goals in advance. Sound obvious? It’s enormously rare. We often meet habitually: the annual conference. The Monday huddle. Before you just assume you must bring people together, ask “What will we do, experience, and learn at this meeting that could never be communicated in a slide deck, MP3 file, podcast, social media post, or webinar?” This one key question will elevate the quality of your content, vastly improve productivity and score you hours of saved effort. For a particularly hard sweat, make the problem to be solved one for which you’re willing to…

23 Aug

#4 Way to Guarantee a Horrific Meeting

Schedule Speakers Who Suck While organizations completely avoid this experience when you team up with No More Boring Meetings, we all know the power of a speaker to make our meeting horrific—or a big hurrah. A short list of how to ensure a home run on the speaker platform every time: Always preview a speaker via a demo video or an in-person showcase. Just asking the speaker or the agency for either will normally do the trick. To ensure an all-around fit, talk with the speaker before you finalize the contract and discuss your audience, goals and talk points. If some aspect doesn’t align, revisit your speaker search. Personally call a few of the clients who hired the speaker to hear directly about their experience. Even before you book someone, talk about the extent to which he or she will customize the keynote session or make the entertainment extra special for your audience. The “canned” speech is a thing of the past. At the same time, it’s unrealistic to expect most external talent to create a from-scratch session just for your group—unless you’re willing to pay an additional customization fee. Be sure to clarify your expectations from the beginning, because…

10 Aug

#3 Way to Guarantee a Horrific Meeting

Use only one or two ways to communicate information Most meetings offer a rather predictable format: an introduction from leadership, followed by an opening keynote, after which participants disburse for breakouts, reconvene for lunch, and most likely, do the same thing repeatedly over one or more days, til it’s time to go home, overwhelmed and not measurably smarter. Most information shared in meetings is transferred from a talking head, into the unengaged or under-involved heads of the audience. All in the midst of too many data-heavy slides. While there may be some interaction via a raising of hands, smaller team discussions, and networking one-on-ones, most often, people are learning by hearing and by reading. Pretty horrific, when you consider the many other options available to us for expanding our knowledge base.  Next time, try integrating one or more of these ideas: Showcase videos, recorded by employees before the meeting—and shown at the meeting—to illustrate team accomplishments in a fresh, vivid and memorable way. Closely timed round table discussions that generate new ideas, bridge solutions, or air frustrations in a fast-paced, results-driven manner, along with awards given for the “best” ideas as voted on by peers. Improv skits on stage that…