Thursday, January 22, 2015

If Nicholas Sparks Wrote an Event

Nicholas Sparks understands the importance of place, of timing, and wastes no words. I have read most of the stories, and been drawn into most of the movies, feeling my own heart break as he weaves love and loss, pleasure and pain, eyes wide open to the reality that life does not usually come easy, that we don't always make choices that make sense, that families are complicated and events can't always be controlled, and in the end it is often the messy bits which make us the people we are.  

Just another great story
If we approached events with the same understanding of storytelling, allowing our audience to grow from hearing and sharing the tough stories, creating balance to focus on what matters and believing words are precious, we would create much different spaces. Much different conversations.  

I have been inspired by many speakers over the years. Storytellers such as Lisa Ling, Aron Ralston, and this year by Robert Fogarty at FICP's Annual Conference in Hawaii with his astounding Dear World project - the speakers that shake you up with tales of their own, and of others, these are the people I want to be inspired by. Stories where every image, every word has a place. 

When we create events, it is the conscious choices we make, in destination and venue(s), layout and design, programmed content balanced against white space and time for informal conversations, sound and lighting, decor - intrinsic vs created, ambient or focal entertainment, food and beverage, and all the thoughtful discussion leading to these decisions which determine the overall planned guest experience. When we market, we hope to capture the attention of the "right" people, those who will benefit from and create the energy of the event as it takes its shape and form. We need to create the environment and provide the information in digestible formats so their choices can be made easily, where conversations can flow, relevant and actionable takeaways can be inspired, and ultimately where they leave feeling richer for the time spent.

What have you been to lately that you felt this happen - where you leave more prepared, more inspired and bigger than when you arrived?  I would love to hear about it!     

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