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11 Sep

Behind the Scenes at TED & TEDActive 2014 in BC

by Andrea Driessen, Chief Boredom Buster, Copyright 2014 Photo by Trib via Flickr Reflect on a time when you felt truly understood, part of a meaningful community, with “your people.” Maybe a happy hour with close friends. A family reunion. A college fraternity experience. Such deep group affiliation isn’t common. So a few months ago, I went on an intentional search for it. And found a rarified, powerful level of connection that lasted five. Days. Straight. This is a behind-the-scenes look at that experience to help us design more intentional, game-changing meetings. When I learned that TED and TEDActive would be held respectively in Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia this last spring, just a few hours north of my home-base of Seattle, I yearned to see what all the fuss was about. What happens at TED events that has the world in general, and the meetings industry in particular, abuzz? Why are people across cultures and professions drawn to a long, not-inexpensive, industry-agnostic event—one that is, in part, available for free online, and that may have no direct career dividend? You’re likely familiar with TED. Perhaps you’ve integrated some TED-ness into meetings. Maybe favorite some online TED Talks. Or attended…

03 Sep

8 ways to stage an unforgettable event experience

Spread a Virus your Meeting Attendees WANT to Catch by Andrea Driessen, Chief Boredom Buster, Copyright 2014 Countless leaders around the world leave their posts every day. That’s not news. Millions of meetings happen around the world, every day. No news there either—as most are uneventful at best. But over the summer, Net-a-Porter CEO Mark Sebba came to work on his last day. His team—from offices around the world—staged a send-off he’ll never forget. You won’t either, once you watch footage of his farewell: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=4u5VQlBENB8#t=0 This video went viral, for a reason. Actually, for at least 8 reasons. And in doing so, it can inspire us to design our own viral meeting hits. Try implanting even just one or two of these elements, and watch your meeting gain buzz—in powerful, positive ways. Genuine: I could literally feel the energy of this crowd’s true love of their boss (their BOSS!) through the screen. Can you? How do your leaders show up? How do YOU show up when you lead, and how can you be seen as more real? At No More Boring Meetings, we have a tool box of ways to boost leaders’ authenticity. Ask for details. Memorably musical: Woven through…

19 Aug

A “Yelp” for Prospective Employees?!

Focusing on what really matters in hiring We’ve invited OD expert Mark Turner of The Boeing Company to blog this month, as he offers a fresh and important POV on employee engagement–even BEFORE people become employees.  See his bio below. When are we going to evolve to a point where job applicants have as much or more data as job posting organizations? Let me explain. When applicants see job postings, they have–in reality–sparse information for making informed decisions about applying. Of course, hiring organizations list position descriptions, competencies, along with basic qualifications for consideration along with typical education and experience. But what really matters is not the qualifications or competencies, but the organizational construct and culture, the manager, the teammates and how they work together to deliver results. So why not have job postings that list predominant organizational norms, the first-level managers, their leadership philosophies, as well as team skill-sets and norms? And why not have a system, like Yelp, wherein employees can post reviews of the organization, the working relationships, along with the style/culture and efficacy of the team, to help applicants discern if they are good fits? Imagine the change hiring managers would see in the applicant pool….

30 Jun

How TED Maximizes Attendees’ Experience in their Custom Theatre

An Intimate Look at the 8000-Piece “Pop-Up” Stage at TED in Vancouver Copyright 2014 Andrea Driessen, Chief Boredom Buster All the world’s a stage. Shakespeare knew it, and as meeting professionals, we too view an event stage as the center of a meeting’s world.  As participants, our eyes are trained to focus attention on the speakers and the action on stage, as it’s often the source of much of our meeting experience and our education. Few events rely on a speaker’s stage presence more than TED (Technology, Entertainment & Design). So when the organization decided to um…stage…its 30th anniversary event last spring at the Vancouver Convention Centre, they capitalized on the opportunity to build a stage from scratch. How apropos that the TED 2014 theme was “The Next Chapter,” as just the stage alone represents a new chapter in enhancing the attendee experience. As a TEDActive 2014 attendee, and a TEDx volunteer, I savored the rare opportunity to go on a behind-the-scenes tour of the VCC the day before TED started. Part of the tour—in fact, for most of us, the highlight—was the chance to see the stage before it was complete, and learn about the strategy behind its design….

17 Jun

How the Hidden Science of Sensation will Enhance your Next Meeting

I’ve been reading a new book, “Sensation: The New Science of Physical Intelligence,” by Thalma Lobel. Many of her ideas and cited research apply directly to the meetings realm. In short, the book is a collection of insights about how our bodies and minds process information from the physical world. Lobel takes us beyond the obvious to realize that we can maximize and influence outcomes in conversations, negotiations, MEETINGS, and just about any life experience where we want or need to make an impact…all in unexpected, multi-sensory ways. For simplicity sake, here are just a few of her many findings, in snack-sized bites. For a deeper look, I encourage you read her book. WARMING UP TO F&B: Do you want a prospect or a meeting attendee to “warm up” to you? Be sure to serve a warm—not icy—beverage (and food, for that matter). Choose comfortable, soft chairs, too. In retrospect, these points seem obvious—and yet the possibilities never crossed my mind. Plenty of original research supports this concept. A WEIGHTY POINT: What if you need to ensure a particular agenda item is given enough weight, relative to other meeting topics and/or relative to how attendees may have been perceiving it?…