Saturday, February 13, 2016

SuperBoob and Real Life

Samme Allen "we need to talk about our cervix, it's just another body part,
but one that can get cancer."
All of us have had "stuff" happen in our lives we didn't expect.  We have friends and family we have lost, who have suffered from and survived disease, who have had life-altering surgeries, who through no fault of their own are now paralyzed, those who are living with many degrees of depression or anxiety.  We all know someone who has come out stronger from a breakup, or more tragic loss, and amazed us with their strength. We have watched our children fall down and get back up, or are managing with aging parents, or just trying to keep up with all that has to be done every day. This is life, and we are living it. 

I have so many people I admire who have openly shared their stories, including Samme Allen above on being diagnosed (in time) with cervical cancer and who is now a strong voice for early and consistent testing. Have a listen as this interview is a good reminder that there is NO excuse. #FearNoSmear 

My chiropractor of 20+ years saved me from the curse of constant headaches. I met Dr. M after several years of debilitating pain in my 20s. I had taken 1,200 (!) Tylenol 3's and just been moved on to stronger medication and deciding this was not the life I wanted I started regular treatments with him and was able to change the way I was living. He was diagnosed with MS in his 50s and chose to take early retirement to focus on his own health and spend more time playing tennis with his wife - a decision it took 3 years to make while he continued his practice and shared his story with many of his patients, proving that remaining active can be a life-improving choice.

This week the fun, energetic and somewhat inimitable Lord Jason Allan Scott shared his story on his Guest List Podcast Episode 10 (episode TLG-010) and this is worth a listen - for any day you think you are having a tough day - know you are never alone!

Oh and SuperBoob... that is how I now refer to my left breast because it has a titanium chip where they removed a (BENIGN!) calcification after two mammograms could not prove it was nothing and a biopsy was required. They do this implanted chip so in a worst case scenario they know where to remove a cancerous lump, and in cases like mine, they know where to keep an eye out in the future. 

To all of you who have been there, a giant hug coming your way - just because.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Digital Disruption is Alive and Well at Events

Our BCIC Robot Sheldon
tours the show floor at the
#BCTECH Summit
Digital Disruption has already happened. Our meetings and events will never be the same again. Digital disruption has seen the majority of the global population having a device or two in hand most of the time. At its simplest iteration we now have nearly ubiquitous mobile event apps and an ability for everyone at your event to socially share what they are experiencing across multiple platforms, at their discretion and not yours!

During the planning process our clients are googling their way in - requiring videos of all the acts we recommend, often rejecting these based on quality of video vs. our quality of known experience; sending us their Pinterest boards, Instagram shares, TED Talks and links to speakers they like or gorgeous event environments found on-line which may or may not be realistic for their budget, location, type of event and theme or environment being created. Don't get me wrong - these shares can provide valuable insight into what will please your client and (potentially) their stakeholders but it does require more management at times as you edit or adapt based on what is shared.

We have seen social revolutions started on-line, which begs the question - how do you use the tools available to connect and strengthen your own communities? We have the opportunity to use a myriad of tools to build communities online including LinkedIn forums, Facebook events and groups, virtual chat rooms and lounges attached to hybrid software (MediaSite, Inxpo, Kubi and more), internal forums and discussion boards on your association website as simple examples. These allow us to connect to our own meeting and event communities, our associations, and even festivals where 100,000+ are having a "shared" experience. This new digital age can be your best marketing tool at the same time it can be your biggest challenge as your audience become your storytellers - you have to set the "stage" and the "performance" - comfortable environment, thoughtful and thought-provoking speakers, food, beverage and entertainment that makes sense for the showcase to wow those there live and sharing virtually. 

With technology omnipresent in our lives and at our events, we need to be aware of how mobile technology can benefit our experience.  When we set a room we consider how the space design will influence behaviours and enhance learning, and now we need to extend technology from the main stage AV into the audience. As a short list, we can add in
  • flipped learning (watching a video prior to the session for knowledge-based discussion)
  • watching a second screen in-hand with an ability to take notes, ask questions and share
  • avoid the in-room mic runners and the inevitable, awkward wait with the ability to ask questions directly from a device with a plethora of text-based, moderated tools or 
  • CrowdMics where every phone has the potential to be a microphone
  • taking notes and images and sharing these with at-home or remote teams in real-time
  • post ideas and photos direct from devices to a virtual audience 
We no longer live a life outside technology, our connection to the outside world is with us at all times and in the hands of our participants as well. As meeting professionals we need to stay focused on lifelong learning and adapting to the curve balls the world will continue to lob our way. This digital integration of f2f and virtual participation can indeed change the world, one meeting or event at a time.