“EG Tips” – 6 Simple Ways to Turbocharge Learning and Retention at Meetings

“EG Tips” – 6 Simple Ways to Turbocharge Learning and Retention at Meetings

How can you ensure attendees retain information long after the event is over, rather than forgetting their learning and new-found knowledge the moment they leave the venue? Here are 6 simple ways to turbo-charge learning and retention at your next meeting.

Meeting design at its core is heavily centered on getting attendees to education sessions in order to gain specialized information. Studies have shown, however, that the traditional lecture model for content delivery leads to abysmal retention rates (some research reports as low as 5%). The problem is that there is not enough importance placed on what actually happens within our meeting rooms to guarantee success. Below are 5 effective and proven methods to incorporate into your next meeting.

Incorporate Storytelling
Storytelling has been used throughout history as one of the most potent ways of retaining large quantities of new information. In the middle Ages, long before literature was widely accessible and ‘twitter’ was simply the sound a bird makes, minstrels were kept on staff by monarchies in scores because of their unique oral storytelling ability to spread important news and breaking events.
Weaving an interesting narrative into educational content not only provides entertainment value and instant connection to the storyteller (speaker), it also has been scientifically shown to promote ‘neural coupling’ – a phenomenon that connects an audience with a speaker by prompting their own memories of past experiences that relate to that story. Encouraging your expert speakers to draw from their own lives in their content delivery will also foster a sense of inclusivity and reliability – making them seem more trustworthy and approachable beyond the session.

Promote Messy Learning
Breaking out of the talking-head mode for your educational sessions is the best way to guarantee participant engagement and lock in learning. Try incorporating psychologist Jerome Bruner’s Theory of Development through Discovery Learning (‘messy learning’) into your breakout sessions. Discovery Learning simply means having students actively participate in the teaching process through verbal and tactile exercises. This is a great way to reformat a session to allow for real-life problem solving situations.
Challenge your speakers to prime participants to be open to new information by introducing hard questions and experiments and having them wrestle with the answers before delivering their content and giving the correct answers. This will motivate the group and give them a more personalized, tailored learning experience. Like storytelling, this teaching style prompts participants to draw on past experiences and knowledge to help learn new things – more neural coupling magic!

Get People Talking
In the classroom, teachers regularly call on their students to answer questions. This keeps everyone on their toes and sets an expectation of them to verbalize the educational content in their own way (and lock it in!). As event professionals, our clients expect our participants to gain valuable resources to use in the real world, and in order to do that they need to be able to communicate what they’re learning effectively. Prompting participants for answers to questions and encouraging group discussions will help the speaker assess what needs to be reiterated and help facilitate a deeper understanding of the material.
A great way to put this into practice is to hire a Learning Coach to facilitate talk-back sessions throughout the entire meeting. An education expert who is also a speaker is the best combination to help keep your program flowing with maximum engagement from your attendees. This also helps to take the pressure off specialists who aren’t the most seasoned speakers but have vital information to share.

Negotiate the Space
One of the simplest hacks for amping up learning lies in how we set up our meeting spaces. Beyond the basics – lighting, temperature, noise level, etc. it is extremely important to consider how the participants and the speaker negotiate the space they have and maximize the capability for movement.
To satisfy the content delivery suggestions above, putting participants in a theatre style setting or in full rounds where half the table has to crane their neck doesn’t make sense. Small groupings, half rounds, comfortable ‘living room’ style seating with amenities that aid in learning (water, notebooks, pens, worksheets) should be the prerogative. Similarly, putting your speaker on an inaccessible stage or statically at a podium clicking through PowerPoint slides does nothing to promote the inclusive, discovery-based learning methods your participants need. Your speaker should be able to interact directly with groups of participants and weave through the group with ease to answer questions, highlight discoveries, and promote that approachable personality that will last beyond the meeting.

Mindfulness and Intention Setting
Every meeting has a ‘Big Why’: the overarching objective that we have a responsibility as event professionals to help our stakeholders achieve. But despite our best efforts, sometimes the big why gets lost because time and budgets are just too tight and programs are just too crowded.
The good news is that it’s really simple to circle back to the big why by reiterating the purpose of the meeting and checking in on it throughout your program. Use your learning coach, conference moderator, or MC to communicate your message and lead talk back sessions that update everyone on the things the group is learning, their successes, and the set-backs they are having. Remind your attendees that there is a reason they traveled, took time out of their busy schedules, and put their personal lives on hold to be in that room. Being engaged in the purpose for being in that room is imperative to the learning process.

Value Wellness Breaks
Active breaks during a work-day and vacations from work are generally accepted practices to promote productivity, engagement and physical wellness. It makes sense that these principles should also be applied to conferences and meetings. Breaks that give attendees enough time to rest and switch gears are imperative to help them be in the best position to learn. Often times our programs are so jam packed that attendees miss out on entire sessions to catch up on business emails or deal with family issues. Switching to something physically active to break up the day (mid-day yoga anyone?) or getting outside and participating in a teambuilding activity like a scavenger hunt ALONG with breaks between sessions for attendees to catch up on work/life matters will go a long way in keeping everyone happy and engaged all day long.

In Conclusion

As event professionals, we can’t control the content our expert speakers and educators need to communicate, but we can shift the format of our meetings to create the best possible content delivery and learning environment for our participants and bust through the 5% retention wall. All of these small changes work to promote inclusivity and active participation; bonus benefits for both the participants and speakers that they will feel well beyond the meeting by promoting an ongoing dialogue and sense of community.

(Social Coup LLC)

“EG Tips” – 10 Event Marketing Tips

“EG Tips” – 10 Event Marketing Tips

Plain and simple, a lot of the old rules of event marketing do not apply anymore. The days of printing out flyers promoting an upcoming event are not really necessary with the convenience of social media.
Plus events evolve so rapidly it doesn’t pay to print, and have outdated information circulate. So, in response to the 10 Biggest Lies in Event Marketing, as honesty is always the best policy, and transparency matters as people are savvier than ever. Here are some new truths that hold some weight to apply in your upcoming event marketing initiatives:

  1. Social Proof

    Tap into your past attendees, your raving fans, highlight their testimonies to showcase how worthwhile your conference or event is to attend. If your registration numbers are substantial, add a counter button to your site as people register, so the proof is in the pudding.

  2. Blogging

    If your event is new or old, starting a blog that puts the focus on the purpose, goals, and educational aspects behind your event can prove to be very beneficial. It will also boost organic search results around your event on the “internets” and give you content to promote via your social networks. Also tap into your industry network or local community to enlist guest bloggers, there’s power in numbers and hence they can act as additional advocates for your cause.

  3. Utilizing your Speakers Educational Content

    If your event is featuring guest speakers, focus on their session’s outline to create promotional content for your event. This creates intrigue, interest and may speak to your guests’ needs.

  4. Promoting your Location

    Never underestimate the power of a location. Location does matter, and if you have an attractive event location, tap into their positive features to spread the word about the event.

  5. Promoting your Cool Stuff

    Not every planner has the luxury or budget to book Bon Jovi. But a unique cirque show can be the next best thing, bottom line, if you have a kick-butt entertainment act or an exotic food tasting for one of the evening’s events or even if the overall event experience will be out of this world, focus on those details. Start crafting teasers, did you know facts about those acts, food delicacies or unique atmosphere elements, all this information can go a long way, diversity is key, different strokes for different folks!

  1. Promoting & Leveraging your Sponsors and Association Partners

    Again, there’s always power in community. Sponsors are very hard to come by these days, always put the promotional spotlight on them as well as your strategic partners. Once they see you are advocating them, ask for reciprocation if they don’t automatically do it in return. It never hurts to ask, the worst they can say is no. And sometimes, asking is the push they need. Your partners can serve as advocates that will help double your promotional reach.

  2. Facebook or Linkedin Ads

    Social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn offer an affordable and targeted way to reach potential attendees. Although, take a crash course on Facebook ad writing before you implement your ad. Pictures are key for Facebook ads, and concise call to action content works best for ad development.

  3. Social Incentive Sharing

    Social sharing is the newest phenomenon online. Google search has a share feature on everything you search on, so get in on the action for your event. Create incentives for your past attendees or new attendees. Give them an offer they can’t refuse and reward them if they share your event with friends that can benefit from your event.

  4. Advance Planning

    Not all of us have 10 months to start planning in advance, but if you do, the sooner the better. Sponsors like to have 10 – 12 months in advance notice to get on board for an event. Creating a promotional calendar is also highly advised, this way you keep on track when crafting your promotional messages.

  5. Promotional CTA Content

    Lastly, to avoid the pitfalls of all the Event Marketing Lies in the previous post, every single sentence you put out there to promote the event should have life, speak the true aspects of your event, be engaging, ask questions, ask opinions, boast others, highlight fans and be enthusiastic. If you don’t care about your event, why should others.

(Social Coup LLC)

5 Tips for Planning a Successful Hotel Grand Opening

5 Tips for Planning a Successful Hotel Grand Opening

If you are planning a hotel grand opening you need to ensure it makes a great impression for all the right reasons. Here are 5 tips to ensure a successful launch event.

Share your vision
This might seem obvious, but knowing the “Who, What, When, Where, Why” could not be more important to the start of a successful event. The “why” is especially important because, at the end of the day, if you do not know the purpose behind putting on the event, you are much less likely to be achieve your objectives.
Great events do not happen by themselves; it takes a strong army of vendors and partners to achieve the WOW factor. Provide your team with a clear shared vision, so they are empowered to help you elevate the overall experience and ultimately help you achieve your goals.

Invite key stakeholders
Before you even begin to plan the décor, food, or activities, identify which attendees are going to bring the highest return on investment for your event. The goal of most hotel grand openings is, ultimately, sales. Invite current clients and investors to renew existing relationships, but also use your event to win over potential clients by seizing this valuable face-to-face opportunity to talk business in a fun, casual setting. If these executives, meeting planners, and other decision makers have a positive experience at your hotel grand opening, they will become advocates of your brand and bring you business.
If there is a potential client that has not been responding to your hotel sales manager, making a lasting impression upon them at the grand opening can help secure them as a new long term client.

Highlight the hotel’s existing features
In many instances, event planners focus on completely transforming a space to create an immersive event experience that guests will remember. In the case of a hotel grand opening, you must find a fine balance between creating a unique brand experience, while simultaneously enhancing the hotel’s existing features without overshadowing them with décor, lighting, etc. The goal is to have guests walk away with a positive impression of the hotel itself; not just a great time at a cool event.
Organize tours of the hotel led by your most knowledgeable staff at various intervals during the event. Put your budget towards eye-catching signage or hotel map that will guide attendees to the areas you want to highlight, such as meeting rooms, guest rooms, fitness center, pool deck, etc.

Make your event’s décor and activities an extension of the hotel and its surroundings
The rentals, lighting, and décor that you do use should play up the hotel’s natural environment. Select linens, florals, and signage to match the color scheme of the hotel. If the hotel identifies with a particular theme or era, like art-deco for example, create an atmosphere that reflects that by incorporating modern lounge seating or 3D chalk art.
If you are struggling to find a theme for your event, why not incorporate elements that echo the hotel’s neighborhood? For a hotel opening in Burbank, pay homage to the city’s reputation as a global media/entertainment center through a Marilyn Monroe impersonator or a luxury car display.
Consider the time of year and the weather, too. If the pool deck is a point of interest that you want to highlight, pick a date in early summer and station the food outside to entice your guests in that direction. If your event is outdoors on a bright summer night, save money on lighting and projections that won’t be visible, and put your budget toward colorful signage, market umbrellas, and eye-catching floral arrangements.

Maximize the life span of your event
A lot of people may think that once the event ends, your chance to make an impression on your guests ends as well. On the contrary, the post-event follow up is a powerful tool in your arsenal to continue to foster your business relationships from the grand opening. Just when guests think the experience has ended, have valet surprise them with a bottle of coconut or sparkling water and a thank you note in their car.
Don’t forget about giveaways! For a hotel with an abundance of nature and plant décor, send guests home with a gift bag of lotion in bamboo packaging. It allows guests to take a piece of the hotel home with them and remember the positive experience that they had at your hotel.
Pictures from the event are a great way to enhance your digital follow up on potential leads and capitalize on your investment. Attach them in an email to remind your guests of your hotel and post them on social media to showcase your location to new potentials that may not have attended the grand opening. You can also show them in client meetings or in throwback social media posts to create buzz for your next hotel opening! Maintaining momentum from event to event is key to getting the biggest overall return on your investment.

In Conclusion

(Social Coup LLC)