Friday, December 23, 2011

Thoughtful Event Design and Production - It Matters

Event Camp Vancouver getting set for participants
When I wrote this post it was before Hybrid was the buzzword of the year, but it was not all that long ago. If it was a TV Show looks at the different ways we can make event education more memorable for the guests and while certainly not cutting edge (since we had several years of examples of doing this) it remains important.

As we move from our viewing audiences being used to produced shows, full of laugh tracks and canned lines, to Improv (think "Whose Line is it Anyway?") to the plethora of reality TV now available, our tastes may have evolved, but our need to be entertained continues to be a reality for meeting and event planners.

When we look at the 2012 Event Trends from David Adler of Bizbash which articulate so clearly what attendees will be looking for, it does all come back to careful meeting design and thoughtful production elements that add to the overall experience. It is no longer enough to build a conference or event full of pre-determined one-sided topics being delivered, paired with traditional evening events, perhaps a welcome, an awards gala and maybe a farewell or closing event. Now we need to offer not only excellent education, we must also work with the presenters on making it interactive to build relevance and applicability for the participants, allow room for "hot" topics or organic growth of topics within the sessions, provide nutritious offerings to sustain participants, offer events that meet the expectations of the guests but also offer some surprises and delights.  We need to create "tweetable" moments and blog-worthy stories, these that happen so much more immediately than any post show PR you may get in traditional media. You must also be staffed and ready to respond to changes that may be necessitated by this immediate feedback received.

In all of this we also are considering not only the needs of face to face guests, but also remote participants, and how we can create education and interaction that provides value for both, and ideally between both audiences. This does require a certain amount of technology and expertise in its use, careful preplanning and appropriate preparation. Is it worth it? If your participants then become your biggest advocates that lead to greater success for your events in the future - I say YES. Plan, prepare, produce - and make sure it is authentic, relevant and memorable!

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