Looking back at 2015, we’ve put together a list of innovative meetings and how to implement some of the ideas to engage your participants and make this year’s event more relevant than ever!
- Livestream for Global Reach – Global issues should have a global stage. Mashable’s Social Good Summit partners with the United Nations Foundation to discuss how technology and new media can help tackle issues such as poverty and climate change. Livestreaming the event for people that were not able to attend in person expanded the conversation to 90,000 people from 200 countries and territories. More than just an isolated event, the conversation continued long after the meeting was over.
- “Engineering Serendipity” – The Collision conference literally did just that. They utilized applied statisticians and computational physicists to figure out people who would benefit from meeting one another. Investors were also directed toward startups that matched their interests. Even if you don’t hire an engineer for your next program, the concept can still be applied. Sometimes we collect personal preferences such as hobbies in order to group those with similar interests on activities or tours.
- Un-silo Your Audience – Melding multiple developer conferences into one, Microsoft Ignite, could have proved chaotic for the differing audience types, but instead, it became evident how innovation and inspiration could come from looking at the whole picture. Many networking events, including “mashups” of different communities, reinforced the human connection at the events.
- Use iBeacon to Give Insights – In large conferences such as SAP’s Sapphire Now, the use of iBeacon technology afforded the opportunity to track traffic patterns, identify points of interest for attendees, and better design the floorplan of the space for the future.
- The Future of Storytelling – You don’t have to be a professional filmmaker to immerse your attendees in an experience. Make sure all of the speakers and presenters tie their content to the purpose of the meeting or meeting theme. You can also take advantage of great venues that help tell your story and are inspirational in their shear nature. Weaving the purpose through every aspect of the event from communication to location to content will ensure you are leaving a lasting impression.
- Fully Integrate the Theme – Who didn’t love a themed birthday party growing up? And who didn’t love play time? Like being a kid again, Summer Brand Camp weaved the “Summer Camp” theme throughout the entire meeting with things like casual dress (shorts and flip-flops), food (s’mores and popsicles) and summer décor. It was casual and fun, yet accomplished the goal of connection and improving communication. We’ve designed and implemented some pretty over-the-top event ideas including a James Bond theme complete with acrobatics and scripted villains and a “Go Pro” event at Dallas Stadium with appearances from the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders.
- Sustain & Conquer – Rewarding company participation and compliance in sustainability and green initiatives helped exhibitors follow the guidelines of the Greenbuild International Conference & Expo and benefit the environment. It’s a win-win. Positive reinforcement through public recognition such as an award ceremony highlights the desired behavior and encourages greater compliance.
- Act it Out – Whether you are acting out a mock emergency room such as at the American College of Emergency Physicians Scientific Assembly , entertaining your audience with a comedian, or role-playing a new sales strategy, the impact on education and engagement is significant. Hands-on activities and demonstrations grab the attention of your audience, creating memorable experiences that will stay with them long after the event.
- Crowdsource – When organized properly, not only can crowdsourcing topics increase audience engagement but collaboration can be born where similar interests lie. It’s even beneficial when an idea is voted-down because of the opportunity to constructively learn how ideas can be improved upon.
- Make Them Uncomfortable – The C2 Montreal conference held sessions from hanging chairs suspended 18 feet in the air. The goal was to change perspectives, and when you are physically risking your safety, your perspective will likely change. We recently planned an event focused on changing perception and seeing things differently. To do so, we created candelabras as centerpieces, – complete with candles and floral accents – but they were hung upside down, suspended from the ceiling and dangling above the tables.