Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Hunger Games - and 10 Event Lessons

A great book or a great movie should offer an escape; change the way you think; leave you inspired or moved. The Hunger Games is "an addictive read" (my 11 year old's words), and my 13 year old read the three books in three days. I was not far behind, captivated and fascinated by the way the author takes many things so wrong with the state of our world and rolls them all up into a tidy package of mayhem. The analogies are endless, and I am certain much smarter and more learned people than me will also be writing their perspectives as it leeches into our pop culture one thrilled audience member at a time.

As with all things pop culture, at some point, someone in the world of events says, "Hey, we could make a theme out of this Hunger Game thing." While on no level can I see selling this concept, it did make me consider this from a new perspective.

The impact of reality TV has for example led us to create teambuilding events such as Survivor, Beach Olympics and Apprentice style events. While these events take us out of our normal "box" and with the right debrief may aid in finding new approaches to our business systems, nobody dies to get to the end. What else did I learn?
  1. If you are really hungry, even squirrel tastes good. So the next time someone complains about "rubber chicken", you can offer them alternatives.
  2. Sponsorship is both ubiquitous and fickle - give your sponsors what they want.
  3. Ask for what you need. When they needed medicine, they asked for it. When you need information or resources, ask for them.
  4. Be aware of the game changers. They are two steps ahead and you don't want to get caught in their traps.
  5. Have the right tools - in their case, rope, spears, land mines and knives all came in handy. For event planners I find zap straps and mobile devices are critical.
  6. Mastering disguises is useful, whether to make a wow during an interview or tribute parade, or to hide under a log, the ability to fit into the environment with the right outfit for the right job is a necessary skill.
  7. Think sustainably. Take just what you need and when you have enough, share with others.
  8. Water is the most important element for survival. Make good choices.
  9. When you can plan ahead, do. Be as prepared as you can be before you begin, which for the tributes meant years or weeks of training prior to going into the arena. For your own self, stay healthy. For your event, consider the what-if scenarios.
  10. When things aren't necessarily going as you planned, trust your instincts. When you live with integrity it is easy to make the right choices for your business or your event.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Experiences and Influence

The raging #eventprofs debate over the past week has evolved around the Successful Meetings launching of the first 13 of the "25 most influential people in the meetings industry" which included 12 men and a bed bug. I thought that MeetingChange had an excellent response to this, worth a read if you want to consider influence at all.

This was followed up by an #eventtable chat on who our Influencers are led by Jenise Fryatt, and the storify of this chat is included here.

My question is this - when planning events, how do you define if the experience was successful? If your objective is to influence thought or change patterns of behaviour how are you working with the people involved - facilitators, presenters, participants to do this?

Can an event create action or change that spreads out through your participants spheres of influence? (I would argue yes if you have clear objectives and a plan to do this such as we did with Get your Green on at EventCamp Vancouver)

Who are the people who influence our industry? I believe each of us will have our own stories to tell and our own influencers, and it is incumbent upon each of us to be part of the continued positive power that meetings and events have, and to ensure that in our individual roles we step up and take responsibility, and bring our teams along with us.

How have you used an event to create transformation successfully?
What barriers have you encountered?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

10 simple event pleasures

team future heads out on the weekend to
breast cancer, walking 60km, raising 20k+
  1. Working with a team that "gets it"
  2. Hearing the gasps of surprise and delight when guests enter an event you have spent months planning
  3. Seeing the cameras come out as guests can't believe their eyes in a new destination
  4. Trying something new (hybrid, sheer projection, a mobile app) and seeing the positive results
  5. Awesome food and beverage programming, from the opportunity to serve attendees all day brain friendly food and see the results in increased engagement to a perfectly wine paired dinner, lunch on a glacier (harder than it sounds and oh so worth it) or a perfectly timed dinner
  6. Creating an event that touches all the senses - and hearing people talk about it the next day
  7. Creating a multi day program where every day provides something new and remarkable for the guests, (and seeing how much they are enjoying it)
  8. Taking care of all the little details that will make our client's lives simpler, (and having them notice that we were paying attention)
  9. Having entertainment that connects with the audience - a name act, a great speaker, roving or ambient that surprises... limited only by your imagination
  10. Making a true positive impact with your event - whether this is through relevant education, meaningful connections, relevant CSR, money or awareness raised...
What makes you smile at the events you plan or attend?

Monday, April 2, 2012

10 simple life pleasures

  1. A hug with someone special
  2. The sound of waves hitting the shore
  3. Cold beverage on a hot day... a warm fire on a cold day
  4. A perfect cup of coffee... chocolate melting in your mouth... homemade cookies warm from the oven
  5. Sunsets and sunrises
  6. Watching children learn and play and learn through play
  7. A soft comforter you don't have to leave
  8. The sound of laughter
  9. Flowers blooming in spring
  10. The crunch of fall leaves... snow under your feet... running through sand
What do you love?