Last May, Rutgers University hosted "The Big Ideas in Higher Education Conference" which was produced by Tony Doody, Director of Programs and Leadership at the university. According to attendees and sponsors, it was a wonderful event because it had great content, the production was fantastic and the venue was perfect.
So what made this event so special? What can other planners learn from Tony? Here is a summary of what speaker Mike Brown, a blogger for Brainzooming, believes other event planners can learn from this conference.
Research conferences outside of your industry.
Tony and his team wanted to build a buzz-worthy conference and looked at many meetings outside of the educational sector for inspiration. They chose a variety of speakers that addressed non-educational issues but the message was still valuable to this niche.
They also looked at how the event was produced (sound and lighting rentals, presentation services audio visual equipment, seating arrangements, etc.) in order to spark creativity and bring something new to the conference.
Short and sweet is the key.
Big Ideas mirrored much of what TED talks are about — 20 minute presentations with no podium. This allowed them to host more presentations, add variety to the line up and kept the speakers laser focused on their topic.
Create an enticing website.
They used images and language that created a buzz-worthy site complete with a listing of conference speakers, attendees and registration information.
The physical setting is very important.
Big Ideas used more of a "living room" type of setting where the seats were placed on risers so the audience and the speaker were on the same level, which automatically increased engagement with attendees. They also used pipe and drape to shorten the room and give it a cozy, closed-in feeling.
Using as many of the 5 senses (sight, sound, touch, taste and smell) in your meeting can help elevate the attendee experience. Light equipment rentals can help create the mood for the meeting. Making certain that everyone can see and hear each other, as well as, the speaker is also important. Touch-based technology such as iPads or computer kiosks can also enhance the experience. And don't forget about food. Good food can both smell and taste terrific.
Drive an emotional connection.
Rather than trying to make the conference stogie and boring, Tony and his team wanted heartfelt emotional responses to the presentations. By keeping the presentations brief, allowing for a variety of speakers and utilizing an interview-style when it made sense, the attendees became emotionally connected to the subject matter,
AV Event Solutions wants to help you make your next meeting buzz worthy! Give them a call at 888-249-4903 to learn more about their innovative offerings!