June 11, 2016: News & Views Roundup For Events Wranglers

Here’s today’s curated smattering of recent events wrangling news and views. My goal is to have this Saturday’s items inform you or inspire you. Maybe you’ll even do something a little different for your next event because of what you read here! For complete details on any of these goodies, click the headline link and read the juicy cyber-details at the source.

See How C2 Montréal Used Umbrellas for NetworkingBrain dating and the modern conference-goerThe Conference That’s Trying to Reinvent How We Network

E 180For some conference goers, there is nothing more stressful than the idea of networking. Many would rather pull out their smart phones and check their emails than take the risk of approaching a stranger to introduce themselves or get stuck in the wrong conversation. However, when asked, many people cite networking as their number one reason for coming to conferences, so avoiding networking is not the solution.

Sometimes it just takes something or someone (or both) to facilitate the connection. This is what Christine Renaud, founder of E-180, the social business that powers C2 Montréal’s Brain Dates, refers to as engineering serendipity…”

C2 Montreal, suspended chairs

This past May, I found myself at a conference unlike any other I’d ever attended. What made it so different was the way people were interacting. One group sat in a circle of chairs suspended from the ceiling, a net beneath them in case anyone fell. Two others were in seats on the ground, positioned back to back with virtual reality goggles on, conversing with one another’s avatar. Two more were climbing up a ladder into a giant nest-like structure. Another pair chatted while pumping their legs on exercise bikes on an elevated catwalk. And, out back, strangers were taking Ferris wheel rides together.

According to Nadia Lakhdari…this is the future of conference networking. “A big reason we go to conferences is for the sense of community, to make personal connections and build relationships,” she explains. “We want to move people beyond sharing business cards at the coffee break, or, worse, just standing around staring at their phones…”

C2 Montréal and E-180 sound Extremely fun and intriguing, and I’ll be researching them more after I finish this post. I especially think the wording in “Brain dating and the modern conference-goer” captures the situation accurately and succinctly: “For some conference goers, there is nothing more stressful than the idea of networking… However…many people cite networking as their number one reason for coming to conferences, so avoiding networking is not the solution.” If E-180 has developed a tool or approach that effectively addresses this issue, I want to work with them or figure out how to replicate their success. Here are two related items you might also want to scan: http://www.campaignlive.com/article/brain-dating-modern-conference-goer/1391814 and http://associationsnow.com/2015/06/the-role-of-matchmaking-at-your-meetings/.

5 Ways to Harness the Power of Storytelling at Events

An engaging, attention-grabbing story will make anyone sit up and listen. Great stories are the cornerstone of every great event, but harnessing their true potential is often overlooked in the planning phase…Stories can transform an entire event, start to finish and inform the tone for the next event. Here are some different ways event professionals can incorporate the use of stories… 

  • Our brains spark magical neural connections with storytellers when hearing a fantastic tale. If we relate to a story, we are much more likely to remember it and connect it to an existing memory. In order to be effective your marketing materials, keynote and breakout speakers, brand activations, and even entertainment needs to be contextual…
  • Allow your participants to be part of the story you tell at your event. Weddings are a great example of this because each guest is invited to become part of the Bride and Groom’s love story, and help tell that story through the ages by being part of their special day…”

I included this item because storytelling is one of the three most neglected and most important aspects of events. Events can have much greater impact if the stories which people bring to an event, which occur at an event, and which happen because-of-but-after an event are captured and shared effectively. This short article isn’t able to thoroughly cover the myriad of issues related to event storytelling, but I hope it gets you thinking about how this general subject might make your event better.

Social Media Channels Increasingly Becoming Event-centric

Social media and events, at their core, bring people together. When used properly, they should go hand-in-hand. Social media providers have recognized this and are increasingly becoming more event-centric in their product offerings. Here are a few new ways that this is happening:

  • …Last year, for Facebook Business Pages, “Call to Action” buttons were added including a “Sign Up” button. Every event planner using an online registration form should consider including this “Sign Up” button on their FB Event page linking to their event registration page.
  • In April 2016, Facebook partnered with Ticketmaster and Eventbrite allowing attendees to register directly on their Facebook pages. With an API (Application Program Interface), this should become more common with other online registration providers…
  • Instagram, with 400 million users, is owned by Facebook. The inherently visual and mobile nature of this app has proven to be helpful and is increasingly used at events and exhibitions.
  • In January 2016, Instagram started curating videos about live events. Although these have centered around large sporting events, it is an indication of the recognition of the importance of events.
  • Snapchat, with 100 million daily active users, is much more than an app for teenagers to send disappearing chat messages. They have made a number of moves to make their app more event-centric…
  • Snapchat Experts can help plan a Snapchat event marketing campaign…
  • Twitter, with more than 332 million active users, provided the original social media back channel for events. Making its major debut at the 2007 SXSW conference, the twitter hashtag is now a central social media search phrase at many events, and is used across multiple social channels…
  • Periscope is increasingly used at events for event marketing and for attendees to share their experiences (for up to 24 hours) with each other and to a larger audience…”social media and events

For 80% of event goers it’s true that “social media and events, at their core, bring people together; when used properly, they should go hand-in-hand.”

Someone on your event team needs to be knowledgeable about and responsible for event interaction with Facebook, Twitter and other social media which is relevant to your target audience. Connecting social media and events effectively is a something that should be experimented with a bit cautiously because of the possibility of negative virality or personal sensitivity. From a general event standpoint, though, tasteful promotion and storytelling about an event on social media can pay huge dividends.

The one clichéd caution I offer you for this communication channel is “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Hard for it to stay in Vegas if it’s on social media

7 Signs You May be a Jurassic Park Event Manager

Jurassic ParkI read with great amusement a post on the Event Planning and Event Management LinkedIn group by someone who called himself a “member of the Jurassic Park class of event managers” because he looks askance at those who think they can pack everything they need to manage an event on their laptops and mobile phones…herewith are a few of the signs I can think of that you may, in fact, be a venerable velociraptor of the meetings kind…:

  • You wax nostalgic over the “handshake” deals of the past as you review page 27 of your upcoming meeting’s 52-page contract.
  • Texting is all well and good, but there’s nothing like walkie-talkies to communicate with staff on site…”

This lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek post has two lessons between the lines for events wranglers.

  1. If you’re a Jurassic Park Event Manager, your events might suffer because of it. Evaluate the pros and cons of changes and new tools carefully. Don’t reject new options just because they’re new.
  2. Not all changes are good, and there is much more event technology available than any conference or unconference can effectively make use of. Evaluate the pros and cons of changes and new tools carefully. Don’t use new tools or technology just because they’re new.

What’s a CMP Worth? About $8,500

CMP“…Results from the Professional Convention Management Association’s 2016 annual salary survey find that, while the average salary of the more than 400 association, corporate, and independent meeting professional respondents was $80,505, those with the CMP behind their names earned about $8,500 more than those without it. More findings from the survey:

  • The glass ceiling appears to be intact in the meeting planning world: Men reported earning an average of $100,179, versus $77,340 for women.
  • More than two-thirds also said they had more responsibilities piled on their plates over the previous year…Three-quarters of those who had more work piled on over the past 12 months said they were not getting any additional compensation for it…”

Whether a certification would improve your events wrangler job depends greatly on where you work or the clients for whom you want to work. For some people the CMP title will bring more jobs, a higher income or self-satisfaction. For others, it may be a questionable use of time and money.

*****

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