The experience matters
Monday, May 12, 2008/
Every time you gather a group of people together it is an opportunity to deliver a great experience. Sadly most waste it.
I was at an event this past week that promised a look at “innovation” – and how to manage it (the incongruity of those two words together is a topic for another time).
Imagine my disappointment when the event not only delivered stale content, but it was packaged in the most expected way imaginable. The whole experience reminded me again of the importance of – experience.
What if, instead of the usual bound presentation notes in a pocket folder, we had received the information in a completely unexpected way? If instead of sitting us around the requisite tables of eight people, we were at small tables of four people and could actually get to know the others around us. If instead of using an interactive element to punctuate the presentation – read pauses where we had to “discuss a point among ourselves” – the interactive elements WERE the presentation.
There are so many ways that the topic of innovation could have been woven into the event, rather than just sitting on top of it like a bit of garnish on your steak! What a waste…
Every time you pick a topic to talk about and bring a group of people together, you also have an opportunity to create an experience that people will remember. Messages are delivered in many ways so why not use everything available to you?
For your next gathering try out some of these ideas:
- Get people out from behind those big tables, they just act as barriers. Use small tables seating no more than four people and get them to switch tables at regular intervals, or give people cushions and sit on the floor, or put chairs in a circle.
- Don’t give people a copy of the presentation or notes ahead of the event – especially not a print out of your PowerPoint presentation.
- Don’t even use PowerPoint; or if you do just use big pictures that support your words.
- Have some music playing while people are getting seated and during breaks
- Give people things to play with (a tub of Lego on each table at the event I attended would have been a great way to get a key message of innovation across – that you have to be willing to play!)
- Have your event outside or in an unexpected venue. It’s amazing how the conversations change when you take them out of the conference room.
- Make it fun, do something unexpected!
None of these ideas are groundbreaking, and presenters all over the world do them regularly, but many don’t, and it’s a mystery to me why people waste the opportunity to create a great experience.
So for your next event, be deliberate and design an event that contains the unexpected, supports your theme and delivers an experience that people will take with them long after the event is done.
See you next week.
Alignment is Michel’s passion. Through her work with Brandology here in Australia, and Brand Alignment Group in the United States, she helps organisations align who they are, with what they do and say to build more authentic and sustainable brands.