“EG Tips” – 4 Tips for Crowd Sourcing Conference Content

“EG Tips” – 4 Tips for Crowd Sourcing Conference Content

The post baby boomer generation – Generation Buzz (X, Y and Millennials) – is living in a world where experiences have to be relevant to their world-view construct.

Consuming experiences in an experience based economy demands new approaches. The notion of broadcast style keynotes and panel discussions, where pre-determined content is ‘pushed’ to conference audiences still has some relevance (as long as the keynote or panel discussion is on point). However Generation Buzz is looking for something more than engagement – participation!

Event planners need to provide opportunities for potential attendees to be the ‘makers’ of immersive learning experiences. This article provides 4 tips on how event planners can motivate potential attendees to be part of a deeper learning experience through their ‘buy-in’ to an innovation process where behaviour is changed voluntarily.

  1. The Conference Theme

    Every conference has a theme. This is derived from client objectives on how to get their central message across to affect behaviour change. The process starts well before pre-event production planning. If you’re looking beyond simple engagement to creating deeper ‘change’ experiences, this is the stage where you should be thinking about the conference theme. Think about how the theme could be used as the framework, within which topic strands relevant to the theme can be created.

    Through the framework you can crowd-source ideas from many of the potential attendees. Broadcast messages – keynotes and panel discussions – can be programmed as topic strands within the thematic framework but you can be an innovator and also include a method to develop other topic strands still relevant to the theme but created by a much larger gene pool of interested talent.

  2. Pre-Event Content Creation

    Once the framework for the conference has been created, the next step is to start the co-creation process. Event planners should strive to provide elements within the conference program that audiences ‘pull’ themselves toward. This can be done in various ways. As the planner you can ask your client if they have specific ‘broadcast’ keynotes they want to include or you can go out to potential attendees and ask them what topic strands they want to see discussed within the thematic framework.

    The conservative approach is a hybrid based on keynotes and panel discussions being pre-program whilst extra slots exist in the schedule for co-created content. The adventurous approach is about crowd-sourcing all the content. Low cost tools exist for crowd sourcing content via a survey, questionnaires, social media or blogs to illicit suggestions on topic strands that potential attendees want to explore within the conference theme./p>

    You could also provide topic strands within the framework and get feedback from co-creators too. Exploring the feedback will give you a better idea of what is in demand and not what you think is in demand – a perfect marketing storm. You could even suggest speakers for each of the keynote strands and get feedback on them. What is important is to start the co-creation process that can be put into an outline conference schedule. The next step is refining that schedule.

  1. The Conference Schedule

    By being motivated by the general theme of a conference and the fact that they are active protagonists in co-creating the conference content will provide the ‘pull’ factor. The conservative approach will be to programmed a schedule where you have a mix of broadcast keynote experiences and other opportunities where people can come together and co-create a deep learning experience.

    If you feel you want more control over the output, the hybrid approach will work better for you and key broadcasted messages will be delivered. If you are more adventurous, using the feedback will inform you about which topics are most in demand and a schedule can be built around these.

    The added value of the co-creation approach is it will aid in the marketing of your conference. The personal data you have collected from the pre-conference research can be used to build a group of social influencers that can be mobilized to affect greater attendance at the conference.

  2. At the Conference

    This is where all your hard work comes together. Whether you have decided on the hybrid approach or whether you have decided to go down the adventurous route, this is the point where your research is going to pay off. You may have crowd sourced your keynotes as well as your topic stands and may be getting nervous about who is going to participate in the sessions you have scheduled. The news is that you have already provided the ‘pull’ factor for people who want to contribute to particular topics. So get them more involved. For example, if someone suggested a keynote speaker, ask them to introduce them onstage.

    Another involvement technique is getting a group of people who suggested a particular topic strand to chair that session and crowd source the agenda in the beginning of the session. Once people start discussing topics they have already bought into, they will be more than keen to participate in exchanging knowledge to create an immersive learning experience. Remember that for each session some sort of moderation is required. This could be one of your co-creators or a professional moderator who will sum up with the learning key points from the session and can incorporate the main conference messages into the session conclusions to take-away.

In Conclusion

Crowd sourcing and co-creation of conference content is a strategy to establish a conversation with Generation Buzz at all stages of a conference. At the planning stage you can facilitate co-creation of the topic strands of the conference theme and crowd-source keynote topics by establishing the right thematic framework. By crowd-sourcing topic strands framed by a general theme, success is achieved because co-creators have already bought into the conference theme. As co-creators they are also motivated through co-ownership of the topic strands. The democratization of content sourcing provides potential attendees with a new way in which they can project themselves as ‘makers’ or ‘content producers’. The conversations created by potential attendees will continue through the co-creation process at the conference and those conversations can be extended post-event too.

As an event planner, creating the right environment to facilitate what is important to potential attendees is pivotal in creating a successful conference. Exploring their world-view constructs through their ‘buy-in’ to co-create content is going to make your conference more relevant and behaviour change then becomes an organic process rather than a process that is contrived, creating a greater ROI for your client.

(Social Coup LLC)

“EG Tips” – 4 Traits of Event Planners with High Emotional Intelligence

“EG Tips” – 4 Traits of Event Planners with High Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence can be described as that special talent some people have to be in tune with other people. The most successful leaders and event planners have high emotional intelligence. Here is how to harness this intuition.

Emotional Intelligence is the concept of being aware of, understanding, managing, and even harnessing your own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.
Emotional Intelligence was first conceived in 1920 by psychologist Edward Thorndike. He believed that there was a strong relationship between intelligence and the ability to “act wisely in social relations.” This theory was expanded on in the 1990’s by psychologists Jack Mayer and Peter Salovey, who coined the phrase “emotional intelligence”.

Over the years, the self-help circles, authors, and our own culture have diluted the original meaning of emotional intelligence, changing the concept of it to a person simply having charisma and social skills. It goes much deeper than that, though.

Why Does Emotional Intelligence Matter

As an #eventprof, digging deeper into this realm can help you become more successful. Measuring emotional intelligence consists of your ability to identify and regulate your own emotions and the emotions of others, as well as focus your emotions to help you be more productive. When you are able to successfully manage and understand emotions, you can better navigate situations and relationships throughout your personal and professional life.

Do You Have High Emotional Intelligence?

If you have a high level of emotional intelligence, you have the ability to manage your own emotions effectively, keeping yourself and your team calm in stressful situations, or even motivating when necessary. As this skill comes naturally for many great leaders, it is debated as to whether or not this “skill” in inherent or can be learned. Regardless, here are some traits to think about to help you better understand the concept behind emotional intelligence.

  1. Identifying and Controlling Your Own Emotions

    As we learned at a young age, it is important to control your own emotions. As eventprofs, we constantly experience stressful situations, and often encounter change. Your emotional intelligence is strongly related to how well you are able to handle these changes and situations. Once you are able to control your emotions, you can begin to identify the cause behind them. Whether it is fear, happiness, nervousness, anxiety, frustration, annoyance, concern, or even excitement, controlling that emotion is often necessary to be successful.

    For example, if a client feels that you are scared, they may not think you are up for their challenge. If you are excited or happy about something else going in your life, and it is distracting you to the point of missing deadlines, you may need to tune that out for a bit to be able to get things done. Once you are able to understand and analyze why you are feeling a particular way, you can begin to determine the best ways to control or change that emotion. This can be considerably important to eventprofs, as we continually step outside our boundaries and experience new and exciting (sometimes scary) situations.

  2. Focusing Your Emotions

    If you can’t control your emotions, you will more than likely find yourself in stressful and unwelcome situations quite frequently. Once you can accurately identify your emotions, you can begin to focus those emotions.

    If you decide to take a nap because you think the overwhelming feeling you have is actually you being tired, you may end up stressing yourself out even more, waking up to a bigger to-do list. If you are stressed, you may need a small break, instead of misinterpreting the emotion by thinking you are hungry and eating a snack. By accurately identifying your emotions, you can make better decisions on how to handle them. If you are overwhelmed, it would be wise to delegate some tasks. If you are tired, a short nap or walk may be the best solution.

    If you are unfocused, and can’t seem to “get in the groove”, start by determining why you are distracted instead of unsuccessfully fighting it all day. Whether it is because you are sleepy, unmotivated, excited, or even nervous, figure out the reason and focus on resolving that issue. Once you can identify and act on your emotions, you may just find that you can focus even more, allowing you to create more amazing events!

  1. Identifying and Controlling Other People’s Emotions

    This is not about brainwashing or manipulating other people! Instead this concept is about empathy and being to effectively understand how people are reacting to you, so you can determine the best course of action. It is being able to effectively gauge your team to ensure they are responding to you how you expected them to respond.

    Everyone interprets things differently. The goal is to obviously have everyone on the same page, but if your team or client is reacting in a way that you did not expect, it is crucial that you accurately determine why that response is occurring. Everyone is motivated in different ways. By being in tune with how your team and colleagues are feeling, you are able to provide multiple solutions to keep everyone happy and motivated.

    Great planners actually use this intelligence when they create amazing events! By understanding what your attendees are delegates are looking for in an event, #eventprofs can proactively begin to create meaningful experiences.

  2. Reacting to the Intelligence

    Planners with high emotional intelligence can effectively gauge how a meeting or event is progressing, and can pivot accordingly if needed. By successfully identifying that a client is not excited about your idea, you are able to immediately act and find other ways to motivate them. If you working on a project with a colleague, and you are aware that one of you is getting frustrated, you can quickly change the strategies being used before the frustrated feeling becomes overwhelming. Planners with high emotional intelligence can even gauge attendees at an event, making any necessary changes on the fly.

    It is critical to be able to gauge the overall feeling of the group. By being aware of smaller changes in attitude and emotion, you can effectively steer the group to keep them motivated and excited. Planners with high emotional intelligence are empathetic enough to understand how their colleagues or guests are feeling, and can solve any concerns that arise quickly, before they have a chance to escalate.

    While it may be seem silly to think about, monitoring the emotional level of your team, as well as yourself, is important for long-term success. A happy and healthy workplace environment is always talked about, but many leaders do not understand how to actually achieve this atmosphere. It is not just about providing food, games, or paid outings. While a good work/play balance is necessary, ultimately, it is about the underlying feelings and emotions that each person has with the daily aspects of the job and how the leaders can react to those emotions. Are people overwhelmed? Underwhelmed? Happy? Excited? Motivated? Bored? Content?

How to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

not be learned and improved upon, there are ways to become more in tune with yourself and the people around you. Begin by looking at your own emotions. Reflect on the fact that while you may not be able to control what you feel, you can control how it effects your life. Keep a journal, taking notes of your feelings and how it affected your day. Were you more productive? Less productive? Distracted? Focused? Excited? Motivated? If possible, try to include what caused that emotion. You can also expand your research by monitoring your colleagues, and asking them how they are feeling to see if your observations were accurate. For this to be beneficial, though, you must have a good and trusting work environment to ensure that you actually get the truth.

In Conclusion

Event planners with high emotional intelligence understand the concept of being aware of, understanding, managing, and even harnessing their own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. Those that are able to understand and harness this have an accurate feel for the atmosphere and climate of their team, colleagues, and events. Once you can effectively empathize with others, you can become more successful reading people and understanding their needs and concerns. You can also more successfully determine their strengths and weaknesses better, build stronger relationships, and communicate and negotiate more effectively.

(Social Coup LLC)

“EG Tips” – 5 Creative Ways to Entertain a Serious Audience

“EG Tips” – 5 Creative Ways to Entertain a Serious Audience

Hearing event attendees find some of your speakers’ presentations are mellow, boring, or yawn-fests, can feel like a debbie downer catastrophe for any event manager after putting in hours of your own blood, sweat and tears for sometimes up to a year of event planning! How dare those attendees not love the somber tones of speaker after speaker with no excitement in their voices, no creativity in their presentations – just the moot “click” “click” of the PowerPoint remote slowly fading from one slide into the next as your audience starts to dread spending their time, money and patience sitting in a stuffy, crowded ballroom… yikes.

There are several ways as an event planner you can mix things up to bring some creativity and spunk into making sure you liven the mood when entertaining serious audiences. Check out these five awesome ways to bring some life into your audiences – maybe one will work for you as you plan future events!

  1. Bring in a Hook

    You can loose an audience in a matter of seconds, especially if you’re going down a rabbit hole of old, useless tactics everyone has heard before. Nobody pays attention to boring things today – you need to grab an audience by surprising them with a hook. Just like a catchy song, (think Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, Jay-Z…you get the picture), the “hook” is what makes or breaks it for any artist today. Find a way to catch your audience’s attention – find speakers who will go beyond outside of the box, and against conventional wisdom by making a statement that will blow people away. Contradict the norm, start discussions in the middle of presentations – involve the audience. Every attendee has an opinion today; help them express those opinions by becoming a part of the speaker’s presentations.

  2. Add in Some Funk

    No matter who may be in an audience at any event, everyone loves entertainment culture. Think about ways to liven up an event crowd by starting the day off with a morning wake-up by performers. You can have a local band come in, circus performers, musicians, or fire throwers – think of ways that tie into your overall theme of the event, and have your audience members included in the performance. There’s no better way to start of a day of long event sessions and networking than to blow the roof of the place – literally! Plus, a great conversation piece during down time throughout the day, and at networking events. Be sure to capture all of the exciting moments via photos and video for social media and to send out to the attendees after the event

  3. Make Them Curious

    There’s no better way to capture an audience’s attention than to get them curious about what’s in store later in the day, in the hour, or maybe in the next minute. Consider starting your keynote session off with a clue, or hint at something that may be happening soon in the session. Get your audience guessing, and have them use social media and the event hashtag to relay their comments and guesses. Create a fun contest out of the hint, and have several winners throughout the day as clues start to unfold and attendees figure out the answers.

    People love to win prizes at events, so why not make a fun day out of it, and start by giving everyone the hint in your keynote session!

  1. Be a Revolutionary

    Every event today has basically the same format and structure when it comes to the agenda. You walk into a room – small or large, grab a seat, and listen to someone talk about technology, a product, a case study, marketing, etc for 60 minutes and toss a few tweets into your app and then move onto the next session. Try something different. As mentioned earlier, it’s more exciting to bring an audience into the presentations. Create sessions that are more “hands-on” – have questions written up for audience members to discuss in these sessions, and from an entrepreneurial perspective, find ways to start a new company, or brainstorm how to socially engage with audiences in different ways, or think about tools that work for some people that may not work for others.

    The purpose here is to use the session as a whole, rather than sitting and listening to one person for an hour. By collaborating, we tend to learn more, hear new ideas and find it easier to express our thoughts out loud.

  2. Make Them Dance

    I think Ellen DeGeneres is onto something with the whole dancing thing. If you’ve been living in a bubble for the last 12 years, Ellen is the new Oprah. And, her favorite thing to do at the beginning of every episode is dance. It’s pretty amazing. If you think about dancing makes everyone feel good. It makes you smile, and simply puts you in a great mood. Why not have small dance breaks at events? You can have them in the middle of sessions, at networking events, in expo halls, during meetings – why not? It will be something everyone will talk about for the rest of the event, and for years to come!

In Conclusion

Bringing a little life to serious audiences is a must. Nobody likes to see a room filled with stern looking men and women not having a great time at an event, no matter what type of event it is. There are so many ways to liven up a room, and by trying some of these creative ideas; surely one will do the trick to turn those frowns upside down!

(Social Coup LLC)