Category: Boosting Registration

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 Jan. 2019. 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…

13 Sep

5 Ways to Maximize Investments in all your Meeting Presenters

By Andrea Driessen Whether you invite external keynoters, subject matter experts, breakout session presenters or a combination of these speakers to your meetings, you invest a great deal of time, effort and money to involve others in delivering actionable content. And with over 2.7 million people worldwide watching TED talks every day, audiences everywhere have come to expect speakers to be exceptionally compelling, engaging and memorable. So how can you make the most of all speakers’ time and talent? Five easy ways: SCHEDULE A MESSAGE CONTINUITY CONFERENCE CALL This one phone call can take your meetings from mediocre to memorable. How it works: invite to a conference call all your meeting-message stakeholders who play significant roles in sharing expertise. Your goals are to air and then reinforce the most important “meta-message” take aways for your audience. Invariably—in the simple act of conversation—otherwise unknown themes and patterns emerge. Connections and common ground are found that boost each speaker’s impact. This call also ensures that any content redundancies and contradictions are revealed and removed in advance, so you can make the most of every minute. Trying to convey too many messages can mean very little sticks. Often, we communicate more—and more is remembered—when…

02 Dec

Why Meetings Should be More Like The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon

By Heather Pelletier, Engagement Unlimited, Vancouver, BC, © 2015 First let me openly confess…I love Jimmy Fallon. I want to be his friend. Who doesn’t? He’s the best! Over two years ago, Fallon took over The Tonight Show (AKA Late Night) and what a difference! The picture below is a great example of this transformation. THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON — Episode 0062 — Pictured: (l-r) Actress Charlize Theron, announcer Steve Higgins, host Jimmy Fallon and actor Josh Hartnett play charades on May 20, 2014 — (Photo by: Douglas Gorenstein/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images) A Justin-Jimmy duet was just the beginning. The show has been viewed over 2 billion times on YouTube, and has had a 41% ratings increase in the ages 18-49 demographic. What has changed? Musical comedy interwoven throughout Game Playing Incorporation of technology A skilled host. Fallon has created a new formula for success in late night TV. It includes showcasing guests’ talents, integrating social media, not taking himself too seriously, trying new things, and most importantly having lots of fun. My TV bestie is not just talented—he’s also playful, positive, charming, witty, and makes others around him feel relaxed so they can just be…

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…

07 Mar

An Idea Worth Spreading: Behind the Scenes of a Powerful Global Partnership

(Originally published in the February 2014 issue of The Meeting Professional magazine) By Andrea Driessen, Chief Boredom Buster & TEDActive 2014 attendee ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ (Dusk View of Downtown Vancouver, Adam Jones, Flickr Archive) (Background) The idea for this story was, serendipitously, born of a light-bulb moment I had during an MPI-PCMA Summit meeting in Seattle, WA last year. There I met Amy Koch, MPI member and sales manager at the Vancouver Convention Centre. As a rabid TED fan, TEDActive attendee and TEDx volunteer, I asked Amy how they ended up hosting TED (I mean, what a coup!). I soon sensed that this story is much like TED’s mission: an “idea worth spreading.” It’s a vibrant example of vision and teamwork, and an inspiring model for strategic supplier-planner partnerships. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ British Columbia, Canada—home to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games—was looking to outdo itself. After all, once you’ve hosted one of the world’s largest events, what do you do for an encore? Raising the bar on BC’s Olympian feat required the finesse and timing of Canadian hockey great Wayne Gretzky. Winning demanded that hospitality, tourism, convention, incentive and governmental teams across all of Canada join forces. That they collaborate to re-imagine their region,…

23 Jan

5 Meeting Time Wasters—and What to do About Them

By Andrea Driessen, Chief Boredom Buster Meetings can become boring when attendees feel their time is disrespected and their contributions are underappreciated. Let’s look at five most common ways meetings suck our time—and what to do instead. 1.     Meetings without end goals. How do you know when you’re finished with your meeting, if you haven’t set a goal for it in the first place?  Meetings are often scheduled out of habit or obligation—not because there is a pressing problem to solve as a group. Further, meetings in which little or no progress is felt can seem to drone on with no end in sight. Instead, before and during the gathering, give your audience a clear picture of where you’re headed, and what your meeting is accomplishing. For example, post a meeting check list, with clear milestones. And as time goes on, visually and audibly show that you have in fact reached these hurdles. Even small wins, accompanied by public acknowledgement (a tangible reward, an audible ping, a loud bell), can—in the language of a good video game—move your meeting forward, and your organization to a higher level of teamwork and productivity. 2.     The wrong people at the table. Take time…

05 Dec

2 More Strategies to Fund Event Games via Sponsorship

(Part 2 of 2. Click here for Part I) With all the buzz about integrating games into events, you may thinking YES! Let’s get a meeting app with a game to engage our attendees. And in the same breath: um, how do we pay for it? 1.     From cost- to profit-center Allowing current event sponsors—and/or new ones—to get in the game by sponsoring your digital or non-digital game is a smart way to help fund the experience. Moreover, with the right strategy, a game can go from a cost- to a profit-center. How? By approaching the right sponsors with the right opportunity at the right time, you ensure attendees play an engaging, business-objective-based game that also achieves brand awareness for sponsors. Most clients of CrowdCompass make many times more in sponsorship revenue than they invest in the cost of the app, and these apps consistently cost less than printing event programs, according to their director of marketing, Matthew Donegan-Ryan. Mountain Travel Symposium, with support from QuickMobile, integrated sponsorship into their game, which included a gallery tool. To share personal experiences at the conference, participants took photos and earned points to exchange for gamer-only discounts at sponsored stores and restaurants near…

03 Dec

3 Effective Strategies to Fund Event Games via Sponsorship

Start small, win big By Andrea Driessen, Chief Boredom Buster With all the buzz about integrating games into events, you may thinking YES! Let’s get a meeting app with a game to engage our attendees. And in the same breath: um, how do we pay for it? Know this: when you play your cards right, your game-ful app can become a popular engagement tool; a printing-, paper- and money-saving conference program; and, indeed, even a profit center. But to win at this game, note these five important rules to heed first. 1.     Start with the end in mind You set yourself up for success with your game when you make thoughtful decisions based first on your audience—not on what you and/or your sponsors think is best, warns Trevor Roald, mobile technology evangelist with Vancouver, BC-based QuickMobile. As a planning tool, Roald and his team use the Forrester-recommended POST (People, Objectives, Strategy, Technology) strategy. Originally created for marketing and biz-dev professionals, POST is now being used in mobile application development. POST ensures you put the people (not the tech) first, and build your objectives and strategies around them. What incents your attendee: Competition? Collaboration? Sustainability? The answer will inspire the game’s…

19 Nov

What to Do About Self-Absorbed Meeting Attendees (pay attention to them, among other things)

By Andrea Driessen, Chief Boredom Buster You could stage the best meeting the world has ever seen. But if no one knows, or not enough of the “right” people attend, all your efforts are for naught. We tend to view meeting engagement as something that happens once everyone convenes. And yet for a meeting to be a true success, we must see engagement as an integrated process that starts when you first reach out to potential attendees with initial, registration-boosting messages. The most effective strategy? I like to rely on an old-school marketing technique: setting my communication dial to “What’s In It For Me,” AKA WII-FM on a radio (or iPod!) tuner. Applying this to the meetings realm: What’s In It for prospective attendees to invest time and money in your event?  People engage with what matters to them based on their own self-interest. Nothing more—and nothing less. You could stage the best meeting the world has ever seen. But if no one knows, or not enough of the “right” people attend, all your efforts are for naught. Sound obvious? Not so fast. Turn away from this blog for a moment—and read your latest event marketing content. Examine the approaches…