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Posts Tagged ‘Jeff Hurt’

How Virtual Events Don’t Hurt, But Help Face-to-Face Events

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Inspired by the April issue of Rejuvenate Meetings magazine, the article “Rules of Engagement” interviews event professionals who understand hybrid, the art of integration, and new integrated tools such as games and other geo-location apps. The author, Jennifer Garrett beautifully answers exactly what we were thinking – have planners opinions about hybrid meetings shifted considerably?

“Less than two years ago, defenders of virtual meetings spent most of their energy convincing planners that streaming an event live would not harm their face-to-face events. Now, virtual components are accepted as powerful marketing tools that extend a meeting’s reach, interaction, and longevity.”

If you’re reluctant to see how the virtual aspect doesn’t hurt, but helps the face-to-face event as a whole, we’ve compiled a list of how interactive tools (such as apps and social media) as well as the virtual components offer solutions and positive results for meetings. These three points were briefly discussed in the article – here’s our elaboration on each:

  • Participatory culture – Keeping your conference entirely offline could be harmful as attendees become more comfortable with technology, they expect you (the planner/conference organizer) to integrate it not only within the conference, but year-round. Everyone wants to be involved in the process of producing content of the conference they’re attending and choosing the sessions they have an interest in which can be done with LinkedIn discussions, Twitter chats, on Facebook discussion boards, or websites. Feedback is also viable to the success of an annual conference so post-conference feedback is just as important as pre-conference input which are both easier for attendees with the ramped up use of technology.

  • Virtual meetings extend a meeting’s audience - If you’re on the opposing side and believe virtual components harm face-to-face conferences, Jeff Hurt makes a valid point in the article. Hurt states, “The impact of being able to video from smart phones and immediately post it on the web has created a natural response. People want to see that at events.” Imagine watching a speaker on virtual programming – if it gains your interest and you’re intrigued, you’ll want to attend the following year but face-to-face.

  • It’s not what it use to cost – Hosting sites for streaming video are typically free and reduce the costs associated with hosting hybrid events. According to the article, “UBM Studios and similar providers can produce complex virtual trade shows for clients, or planners can mix-and-match the company’s offerings to include live content streaming, chats, exhibit booths or material exchange.” Another aspect to saving money is that in a way, virtual meetings become somewhat sustainable meetings – with all that video, there’s no need for paper. Attendees are creating their own media whether photos or video with the power of their smart phones.

We were unable to find a link to the article in Rejuvenate Meetings, but highly recommend if you can get a copy of the magazine to read this article which features Robert L. Wagner, Jeff Hurt, Maddie Grant, Kate Spellman, and Samuel Smith. Have you had any experience successfully or unsuccessfully integrating virtual components into face-to-face events? What were they and what lessons did you learn?

[Round-Up] Our Favorite Blogs This Week! April 18 – 25

Monday, April 25th, 2011


Planners face new demands in 2011 and beyond.

Every so often, we like to feature our favorite blog posts from the past week from event professionals around the world. Sources range from magazines to promotion companies but speak on a diverse range of topics that we believe shine a new line on a subject, bring valid points to the table and were well-written. Here’s our favorite blog posts from the past week:

April 18 – 25, 2011

  • Ten Tips for Successful Conference Tweeting - we often blog how about how to host a tweet-up, how to create pre-conference engagement through Twitter, but in Velvet Chainsaw’s blog, we learn about how to successful tweet from a conference. Jeff Hurt describes step by step instructions to successful tweeting as a conference attendee such as including a photo or giving proper attribution. You can consider this the proper etiquette to conference tweeting.

  • Is Mobile Marketing Green? – In Heidi Thorne’s blog Promo with Purpose, she weighs the two options: traditional marketing vs. mobile marketing. The facts and statistics will surprise you but make you realize what makes the most green sense. Besides, who carries paper anymore? Read Heidi’s blog to find out the verdict.

  • How will face-to-face events survive the digital age? – Published last June 2010, we saw this tweet from Dave Brull of MC2 and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share this. The white paper brushes over the important concept, is discusses an integrated marketing strategy. For instance, a brand should exhibit a consistent theme from virtually online to face-to-face in order to be the most successful. Read more to find out about Making a Case for Face-to-Face.

  • What Event Innovators Can Learn From Legendary Pitchman Ron Popeil – In Jenise Fryatt’s blog on Engage365, we learn “if we want to convince others to disrupt their way of doing things, we need to take them by the hand the way Ron Popeil did” by clearly explaining and demonstrating thow the item can be used in to the everyday lives of clients. Jenise gives the example of social media and giving screen shots or a video tutorial on Twitter rather than just saying it’s important. Perfectly paired with Jeff Hurt’s Ten Tips for Successful Conference Tweeting, and you can effectively teach an attendee how to tweet from your conference.

  • Planners face growing demands – From Collaborate Meetings, learn how planners face increasing demands and their new required skillset which encompasses marketing, advertising and public relations. According to Christine Born, the writer, “Their responsibilities extend beyond the logistics of putting an event together.” Discover what electives college students should be taking in conjunction with their meetings and events classes.

Were there any blogs you would add to this list? If so, please share the article with us.

Comparing Meetings to Football: If you were to add to this list what would it be?

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Sports and meetings – what do these two have in common?  Well first, in every meeting, meeting planners must take a step back and evaluate the overall game plan if they want to engage their audience. Speakers, particular meeting room set-ups and entertainment factors all play an integral part in creating an engaged audience. As meeting planners if we were to compare our industry to any sport, we would most likely want to steer away from the tennis meetings with little to no interaction. In fact, we might all strive for a row or football team where the audience is loyal, cheering us on and the players are constantly engaging with the coach and their teammates.


  • Key Components: Your Locker Room – As a meeting planner have you selected a site that will facilitate learning or distractions? Have you created an environment that fosters open communication and discussion? Your private team locker room is a distraction-free environment where attendees feel secure to voice their opinion, without this meetings are not capable of their full potential.

  • Collaboration: Team HuddleYou know this phrase, “There’s no ‘I’ in Team.” Meetings should allow collaboration for both genders. In the post “How Men and Women Behave Differently at Conferences” by Jody Urquhart of I Do Inspire, she evaluates the differences between male and female. Judy recommends, “As a speaker at a conference it helps to balance your interaction around facts and the environment with relationships.” This appeals to both genders, supporting open-communication. An example of an open-communication team huddle in the meetings industry is the fish-bowl concept. Learn from Lara McCulloch-Carter of Ready2Spark about the fishbowl set-up, where faced challenges can be shared between teammates.

  • Chalkboard X’s & O’s: A Strategy- As Jeff Hurt writes on “Making Your Conference More Lady Gaga-istic,” he makes his first point Get a Plan: “Conferences need to get a plan. They need to allow leaders (not just the association’s current board chair) to speak on behalf of their conference. They need to unveil things and show some oddity. They need to work their plan.” A strategy helps you to set goals for the meeting, create a structure (even if it’s an “unconference”), and obtain those goals. With your X’s and O’s strategy drawn on the chalkboard, it’ll be easier to focus on the purpose of the meeting and reach those touchdown meetings.

  • Teamwork: Playing in the Game or Locker Room Talk OnlyIf you’re a speaker who finds him or herself speaking to an audience with 15 minutes for Q&A at the end, unfortunately your team never left the locker room and they may have lost focus in the middle – only remembering the beginning and end of your speech. Incorporating a team-effort into the meetings opens the doors to the field permitting everyone to play in the game. A perfect example of a speaker who allows her audience to join in the game is Andrea Sullivan of BrainStrength Systems. Andrea, an organizational psychologist who studies the brain travels to conferences to speak on creating brain friendly menus for meetings or how to use your mind to advances leadership skills. At the 2011 IACC Conference, Andrea spoke about food that enhances meeting learning and performance and then asked each table in the room to create a menu of brain friendly food. Andrea was successful at engaging her audience and encouraging them to participate in the game.

  • Excitement: Crowd Support & Healthy-Hype – In the weeks leading up to the meeting or conference, similar to a big game – coaches/mentors and meeting planners are able to create excitement (and they should want to). With the use of technology, Twitter chats, LinkedIn discussions, and polls generate healthy-hype before a conference as well as the ability to forsee what the audience is interested in learning about on-site. Once at the venue, conference planners are able to continue excitement with Twitter hashtags and Foursquare badges such as those at SXSW 2011.

With all football games, successful meetings that engage the players call for a venue, collaboration, open-communication, a team huddle, teamwork, and excitement to pump up the team.
If you were to add to this list what would it be? Would you compare meetings to a different sport?

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