Coming to the end of a run of conferences, it’s been interesting to check out current trends.
How quickly it comes to pass, that the attempt to find a new way…..when presenting, eschewing the podium in favour of wandering around the audience, with the sound man desperately trying to keep your radio-mic from feeding back, and the lighting guy wondering why he bothered to take so much care focusing that onstage light just so, for example…..becomes what is now the expected.
It’s a struggle for the rows and rows of exhibition stands to find ways of standing out – a fresh give-away; a branded smoothie; some interactive game play; live animals!
But there’s also a fear at play I think, a fear of being too radical, of moving away from the format or formula that everyone expects … so that innovations have to be shoehorned into a certain level of convention. The organisers of any event feel pressure to provide something that meets expectations.
But why not break out of the bounds of normality?
The really key aspect might be to ask yourself what do you want your conference or meeting or event to achieve? What does a successful outcome look like, and how can we best engage people to reach that outcome? What if we dispel the conventions and just try to get to heart of it?
Also – let’s make it enjoyable, let’s make it fun, let’s make it inspiring and memorable for people.
We worked with the Bureau of European Design Agencies on their General Assembly Plus event last Summer, and the impact of how we framed and dressed the day prompted one delegate to say, “This is already a hundred times better than last year”, at the point of signing in! Merely because we had prioritised the human experience, boldly moving away from the accepted formula and introducing an element of play to let delegates know they were being encouraged to think creatively, to bring their true selves to the meeting and that getting the work done and having an interesting time didn’t have to be mutually exclusive.
So happy meetings, and go on…….live a little!