May 7, 2016: News & Views Roundup For Events Wranglers

This May 7, 2016, post is excerpts from recent items relevant to events wrangling. If they sound like something you want to know more about, click the headline links and read the source articles.

Do You Need to Reinvent Your Event? 3 Industry Trends Say Yes

The American Society for Association Executives recently announced it was launching not just a new event, but a new kind of event called Xperience Design Project…because today’s environment demands giving people the option of participating in something that’s designed to be a co-created, interactive, team-based, practical experience that results in stronger relationships and take-home-and-use solutions…the changes in the world we live in are driving the need for a different kind of event…the three main trends driving this change, according to Neal, are:

  1. Audience expectations are changing…
  2. The event landscape is changing…people’s expectations for an event are being formed by events they probably haven’t even attended but have heard about, such as the Aspen Ideas Festival, Bonnaroo, and TED.
  3. American Girl doll experienceThe experience economy is now an everyday fact. “If you have a daughter and have been to an American Doll store, you know what it’s like to spend $200 on a doll and then spend $200 to have tea with a doll. That’s the experience economy…”

If you haven’t incorporated “experiences” into your event, read this article and a few others about that topic to understand just what it is and how your events might benefit from adapting to the experience economy. See also the “The Future of Meeting Venues” article below.

Participatory voting at events: Part 1—Introduction

Vote buttonMaking decisions…is the first function of voting that comes to mind for most people. In a participatory meeting environment, however, rather than simply a means to make a decision, voting is most useful as a way to obtain information early in the process…and paves the way for further discussion—a process I call participatory voting…The participatory learning philosophy I espouse concentrates on these deeper learning skills…

Perhaps the most important benefit of participatory voting techniques is their ability to elicit important information about the people, needs, and ideas in a group and make it available to the entire group…Giving group members opportunities to harness these techniques for their own discoveries about the group can further increase engagement in the group’s purpose…Participatory voting techniques such as card voting provide large groups the real-time feedback required to productively steer a complex conversation to best meet the needs of the group…Finally, we can use participatory voting to uncover group resources, interest, and commitment on specific action items from individual participants…”

If one of your event priorities is to create participation and engagement amongst those at the event, you need to understand what they’re interested in, what they want to talk more about or hear more about. You can guess what those topics are, or you can use different ways to elicit that information from people at the event. Voting is one way to find out what people are thinking. “The Future of Meeting Venues” article below also relates to this voting article, stating that “access to interactive technology that allows audience participation and collaboration is more important today.”

The Future of Meeting Venues

venue for meetingsSelecting the right venue can determine the difference between an amazing meeting and a disastrous one. There are countless aspects that a planner needs to consider when choosing a venue. Location, service, and food and beverage all come to mind. IACC surveyed more than 150 meeting planners…to learn what venue features are most important to planners.

Seventy-five percent of respondents reported that their jobs now require more “experience creation” than they did two to five years ago. Planners today must compete with cellphones and tablets for participants’ attention, so unique and immersive experiences are key. Millennials are also changing the conversation…this tech-savvy and constantly connected generation prefers experiences over meetings.

…Seventy-seven percent of planners surveyed believe access to interactive technology that allows audience participation and collaboration is more important today than it was five years ago, while 47 percent report that flexible meeting spaces that can be rearranged for a variety of purposes are more important now than they were then…”

If you’re an experienced events wrangler, you probably have proven techniques and criteria for finding and choosing your venues. If that’s the case, or if you’re a relatively new wrangler, you may want to read this article and see if it gives you useful ideas for selecting your next venue.

How to Do a Site Inspection With Your Smartphone

smartphone venue tourKatie Senkowski, CMP, manager, meetings and events, at AIG, needed to settle on a short list of hotels for an important upcoming event in Chicago…Senkowski needed to be on site with another program and couldn’t make the trip. So David Katz, director of sales and marketing at the Omni Chicago Hotel…suggested a site visit via FaceTime—the video call option on an iPhone. Katz has conducted other virtual site inspections in the past.

“I was a little nervous at first, but we got really into it by the end,” Senkowski reports. “David showed me around the hotel and introduced me to different staff members. I also rode the elevator with him and heard from actual guests at the hotel. He toured the guest rooms, our meeting space, the lounge, front desk, fitness facilities, and I asked him to show me outside and some other spaces within the hotel as well.”

…Because she was looking to narrow down properties to do actual site visits on limited time, she says, “this was the perfect option. It works great if you need to rule out hotels from the beginning and/or if you don’t have the budget to conduct a site visit in person. It could also be the perfect solution for very small meetings, where your budget may not allow for a true site visit…”

Part of choosing your next venue is knowing what it looks like, especially the key areas that will help make your event a success. If you can’t visit the site in person, if you’re just doing a screening of potential sites in order to figure out which sites to visit, or if the event budget doesn’t justify an in-person inspection of the facility, consider doing a remote site inspection via your smartphone.

Brief and Debrief: How to use fighter pilot techniques to put on better meetings
Three Part Series:   Part 1,  Part 2,  Part 3

fighter pilot“…In our first article we discussed the similarities between fighter pilots and meeting planners. Both operate in high-speed, rapidly changing environments in which a single mistake can result in devastating consequences. We introduced the concept of the “Feedback Loop,” a battle-tested process that ensures peak performance on every mission. The Feedback Loop mandates that pilots conduct a briefing immediately before each mission…

The second installment of this series focused on the briefing, introducing the Five Rs of an effective briefing: Roadmap, Results Desired, Room and Logistics, Roles and Responsibilities, and Risks..Those same Five Rs are used as a briefing guide to clearly and concisely communicate your plan to your team…

In this third and final installment we will look in greater depth at the debrief, the single most important element of the Feedback Loop. The debrief assumes that no pilot has ever flown the perfect mission, and that no meeting planner has ever staged the perfect event…we must use the debrief as a tool to accelerate the experience of our people and to ensure that the leaders of our organization get the honest feedback they need to make good decisions…”

The “fighter pilot” brief and debrief are not planning meetings, but are reviews to discuss and emphasize what will happen and what did happen. You may not organize your events like a military person plans and executes their wartime mission, but this unique point of view may put a worthwhile fresh spin on last minute event-readiness previews and event follow-up reviews.

*****

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