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Category: Ideas for Meetings

12 Nov

The Risk in Not Risking

Despite the discomfort, for meetings to positively change, WE need to change.   Copyright 2014, Andrea Driessen, Chief Boredom Buster Image courtesy of Meeting Professionals Int’l The meetings industry tends to view risk as a liability. We have (and need!) complex contractual clauses that address indemnity, force majeure and liability. We use carefully crafted check lists so meetings run perfectly. After all, who wants to risk it? Then we invite imperfect, novelty-seeking, easily bored guests whose input we can’t control; people who crave surprise, creativity and the extraordinary. We know eliciting change is an imperfect science at best. So how do we navigate the gap between staging safe, legal, well-run events—and designing live experiences that leave audiences changed and inspired? Putting aside insurable risk for a bit, let’s hear from planners who stuck their necks out with thoughtful event risks, and generated more value and impact. There’s an inherent—and crucial—boldness in trying something new and not knowing, for certain, whether it’ll work. For meetings to change positively, we need to change. And change doesn’t happen in the middle. It happens on the edge, where—frankly—it’s uncomfortable. Let’s step out and see what we find. Aligning meeting brands with public brands Lorie…

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…

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?…

09 Jun

Game-Changers: Behind the Scenes of the TED-Vancouver, BC Partnership

Copyright 2014  Andrea Driessen, Chief Boredom Buster & TEDActive attendee 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, their brand and their ability to elevate how ideas are communicated at live events. Success, in short, required being the right place at the right time. And win they did: from March 17-21, BC will host what could well be called the “Olympics of Thought:” The meeting game-changer that is TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) in Vancouver, and the related TEDActive event, in Whistler. TEDsters, hand-selected to join the community, are some of the most well-known thought leaders in the world. Previous attendees include Bill Gates, Al Gore, Jane Goodall and Hollywood illuminati. How TED2014 ended up in Vancouver is a compelling story of vision and partnership. Of aligning to a common cause. Of helping everyone win—cities and…

17 Mar

What’s the BIG Idea??

Within moments of beginning TED Active in Whistler BC, I began what will ultimately be a full week of learning and generating provocative new ideas, and novel ways to help you generate more OF them at your meetings and FOR your meetings. To wit: this enormous outdoor sculpture, just dedicated two nights ago above the Vancouver Convention Centre, where TED will take place. Beyond serving as a thing of beauty, “Unnnumbered Sparks” (the idea for which was conceived at a previous TED event) allows anyone to affect it by logging into the sculpture’s wireless network and contributing to the art form with their designs. It also represents the capacity for an idea to change as more people add to it. Very TED-like in and of itself. Without installing a massive art piece (!), there are endless ways to help your meeting participants foster more and better ideas through the way you design your events. Just a few: Simply giving people a large wall on which they can share their input over the course of a meeting goes a long way. Be sure to bring them back to the office with you and begin implementing the best. Stage a game through…