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Posts Tagged ‘Conferences That Work’

Open Now For a Glimpse at The Future

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Wouldn’t you like to know the future? As our October email states, we’ve seen it and we like it. In the fall white paper, “The Future of The Meetings Industry: Why Certain Conference Innovators Are Winning” we take a trip to the future and discover what meetings will be like in the next 10 years. Are you curious? We thought you’d be. Read the full white paper which features conference innovators from Steelcase and Adrian Segar, organizer of Event Camp East Coast and author of Conferences That Work: Creating Events That People Love. And, if you’re a planner and you love perks, don’t be shy about signing up for our monthly e-mail. We send deals, offers and resourceful tips.

Fall White Paper on The Future of Meetings is Released Early

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

A futuristic idea by Steelcase – the Node chair

Beginning this year, we’ve released a quarterly white paper in a series we’ve named Meeting Discoveries. The spring white paper as many of you may have read was The Science of Food for Thought: Enhancing Meetings Through Food and explored research by Andrea Sullivan, an organizational psychologist with a passion for the study of the brain including brain food and field studies by Executive Chef Craig Mason of The National Conference Center. Our summer white paper Understanding Generational Differences: The Key to Attracting, Motivating and Retaining Your Workforce with generational evangelists Ann Fishman and Jeffrey Vargas, conference director of education and engagement Jeff Hurt and human resources manager Ildiko Agoston focused on classrooms and learning strategies to appeal to each generation. By CEOs and trainers understanding generational differences they’re better able to satisfy their employees and as a result, obtain more business with happier customers.

This week we’re rolling out the red carpet for our fall white paper, The Future of The Meetings Industry: Why Certain Conference Innovators Are Winning. The interviews feature conference innovators – Adrian Segar, a peer conference designer by trade and author of Conferences That Work: Creating Events That People Love, Tom Condon, an interior designer for Steelcase and Dr. Lennie Scott-Webber Director of Education Environments for Steelcase.

  1. A strong emphasis of space & design in the future of conferences – the common theme that resonated with each conference innovator was helping people connect with each other. We’ll answer – Why does space and design play such a large role in collaboration and learning? Discover the cool and modern designs for environments by Steelcase.
  2. Traditional conferences will disappear - With lower satisfaction ratings and the ability to google or YouTube, attendees travel to a conference to network and learn material that’s of interest to them. Adrian Segar’s book will help you learn how to transition from traditional conferences – the white paper is a small peek into the concept of his book on peer conferences.
  3. Abundance of space becomes important – Condon recommends a venue with space that can be anamorphic, in order to create “a palette of places.” Learn more about “a palette of places” in the white paper and how these “out of the box” concepts will make up the future of conferences.
  4. Similar to Yelp, planners like businesses are listening – These three innovators rely on the feedback of conference evaluations to create a meeting that satisfies all. Meetings are steering away from the material transferred from planners to attendees in order to keep the conference material relevant and exciting.
  5. No fear for conference centers or planners – Readers and planners may be pleasantly surprised to discover that social media isn’t driving face-to-face events away, but in fact creating a need for one-on-one interaction.  Find out why people are attending for connections made.

What points in the white paper could you most relate to? Are the three trends surprising or educating you on new concepts? See the full white paper: The Future of The Meetings Industry: Why Certain Conference Innovators Are Winning.

SURPRISE: The Future of Conferences Won’t Focus On…

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

For Steelcase, technology plays a role but isn’t the main focus,
instead the design focuses on collaborative learning.

You’ll be surprised to find out in the fall issue of our white papers series Meeting Discoveries that the future of conferences won’t focus on… technology. We interviewed three professionals in the meetings industry whom we consider to be conference innovators on current upcoming trends, the emphasis attendees are placing in their survey results and what’s most important in the future. A year ago, venues might have feared technology would take over and replace face-to-face meetings but according to these innovators, technology is important but doesn’t play an integral role in the future of learning. In fact, in the white paper (set to be published at the end of this month) you’ll discover that 70% of learning is believed to be a social interaction with others.

5 things you’ll discover in our fall white paper:

  1. How conferences are changing to adapt to the needs of attendees  – you might be surprised what a large emphasis is being placed on satisfying attendees to keep them returning each year.
  2. Discover why attendees are currently traveling to conferences – one hint: it’s not what you planned in your conference agenda.
  3. Find out what’s crucial for collaboration and learning – In order to increase collaboration and learning, know the unique traits of a setting that will help foster this at your conference.
  4. Know what conference innovators predict long-term – If you’re afraid of social media or think it’s distracting, consider incorporating it now.  It won’t play a large role, instead it’ll be considered a “birth-right,” similar to free Wi-Fi.
  5. Understand the difference between traditional conferences and peer conferences – It’s the difference between active versus passive learning and will make significant difference in the future of your meeting success.

What do you predict as the future of conferences and meetings? Have you foreseen trends in the past that you were right about; if so what were they?


10 Event Professionals Worth Knowing on Social Media

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Jumping on the social media bandwagon can seem like a lot to wrap your head around, especially if you don’t know where to start. The #1 concern I hear from non-social media users is that they’re afraid of being “bad at it [blogging, tweeting, and LinkedIn].”

I’ve derived a list of the Top 10 Event Professionals Worth Knowing on Social Media – who blog with passion, tweet insightful articles from others and are well-established in the event professionals community.

These Top 10 Event Professionals include (in no particular order):

  1. MeetingsMHJ (Minnesota’s Hospitality Journal) - Their blog features the latest trends in the hospitality industry including food & beverage, culinary, and note-worthy meetings in the Mid-West. All-around a great blog to learn fascinating statistics and travel news.
  2. GregRuby (Greg Ruby) – From reading his blog, Greg Ruby’s Gems – readers are able to pick up on Greg’s sincere writing style and passion for meetings, events, and tradeshows. He breaks down his experiences and gives you the meat of the information straightforward – something we all can appreciate!
  3. JeniseFryatt (Jenise Fryatt) – On the Sound ‘N Sight blog, Jenise provides the best combination of a blog – short & sweet,  guest posts, helpful links, videos, and more. Her company Icon Presentations goes beyond the presentation side (no pun intended) to engage with event planners in this online blog.
  4. ASegar (Adrian Segar) – Author of “Conferences That Work,” Adrian’s tweets and blog discuss conferences from an educational and psychological standpoint.  Adrian guides meeting planners with not only tips but the reasoning behind the decisions to do so.
  5. JeffHurt (Jeff Hurt) – In addition to his different approach to blogging about meetings, Jeff Hurt of Velvet Chainsaw Consulting takes time to find appropriate blogs to commentate on as well as to tweet to his audience. With eccentric analogies and new ways to look at the issues facing associations and annual meetings, the Midcourse Corrections blog brings a new (and fun) light to the industry.
  6. MeetingsMag (Meetings + Events) – Tweets from their online editor include light reads about the meetings industry and tips for event professionals. MeetingsMag is the official twitter account for Meetings + Events publications for Arizona, Colorado,  Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Northwest, Northern California, Southern California, and Texas.
  7. MeetGreen (Meet Green Corporate Office) – Catch their tweets and blog posts for the latest in green meetings. And, it’s interesting too – did you know “65% of corporate travel executives are implementing sustainable travel guidelines for their companies?” Neither did we!
  8. Ready2Spark (Lara McCulloch) – For a blog that encompasses absolutely everything in the events industry, including the event itself, marketing, branding and more – Ready2Spark is a successful business and blog with a personal touch.
  9. MsStallings (Christina Stallings) – Her off-beat tweets and posts on Light Bulb Moments about tradeshows, events, and technology keep you on your toes and inspire some light bulb moments of your own!
  10. IACCconfcenters (International Association of Conference Centers) – The IACC Conference Center Blog introduces what to do in real-life situations such as being audited and more light-hearted posts such as conference center trends and more. [Side note: Twitter is not as active so I did link to the IACC Homepage].

From The Playground to The Conference Room

Monday, August 30th, 2010

The basic ground rules set in elementary, middle and high school aren’t that far from each other.  The rules just become more defined and elaborate over time. Or, they also become understood, for instance no running in the hallway.  But, what about the basic ground rules of a conference?

In the book, Conferences That Work, the author Adrian Segar, a conference planner with over 20 years experience – informs us that in the professional world, employers allow us to establish our ground rules in groups. Yet, traditional conferences don’t have explicit ground rules.  To improve your conference, Segar sets a few ground rules for a safe and intimate conference:

  • “While you are here, you have the right and opportunity to be heard.”
  • “Your individual needs and desires are important here.”
  • “You will help to determine what happens at this conference.”
  • “What happens here will be kept confidential. You can feel safe here.”
  • “At this conference, you can create together with others, opportunities to learn and to share.”

According to Segar, by sending these powerful messages to attendees, it sets the stage and gives people permission to share and learn from each other. Recently, Leadership Loudoun Youth program hosted a retreat for a group of selected high school students at The National Conference Center. In this week-long program, these students participated in engaging activities, team-building exercises, and listened to guest speakers – all which promoted strengthening their leadership skills. At NCC, we explored how closely their program experience paralleled with Segar’s five ground rules of a safe and intimate conference.

Read below for a daily summary and how each ground principle played a role (note, some rules could have been applied more than once):

  • Day 1: Team building activities, a ropes course, and a leadership discussion. “At this conference, you can create together with others, opportunities to learn and to share.”
  • Day 2: Discussed the business and non-profit community and led an activity on networking, collaboration, and referral marketing. “Your individual needs and desires are important here.”
  • Day 3: Led a public speaking activity. “While you are here, you have the right and opportunity to be heard.”
  • Day 4: Coordinated a community service project (with Keep Loudoun Beautiful) for the class to clean-up litter trash and recyclables. “You will help to determine what happens at this conference.”
  • Day 5: A youth-drive and youth-led activity called, “Listening to Youth” which identified top issues addressed in the application process (from alcohol and drug abuse to the pressures of success). “What happens here will be kept confidential. You can feel safe here.”

Segar explains, “when attendees feel safe to share and empowered to ask questions and express what they think and how they feel, what happens at a conference can be amazing.” Based on the testimonials from Leadership Loudoun Youth, it appears the students were empowered to express their views and ask valuable questions – an experience created from setting the ground rules of a safe and intimate conference in the beginning.

**In an effort to make Loudoun County “The Best Place to Grow Up,” a partnership between Leadership Loudoun and Loudoun Youth, Inc., created Leadership Loudoun Youth.  The program consists of a group of selected high school students based on their how they view leadership and issues they see within Loudoun County. The National Conference Center is proud to have hosted the graduation ceremony for Leadership Loudoun Youth, Class of 2010. Congratulations! To find out more information, please visit Leadership Loudoun Youth.