The right brain is responsible for intuition and emotion while the left brain insists on just the facts. We need both sides of our brain to function in life, but how does this apply to event meeting planning professionals handle messaging at conference and meetings? Typically, we hire speakers and facilitators that evolve their messaging around the left brain. Why? Because that is the way we learned and processed information since we were in 1st grade. Teachers gave us the facts, we injested them, and then we spit it all back out on tests and quizzes.
Powerpoint presentation equipment needs to evolve along with the attendee's needs and requirements. An endless array of facts and figures on black and white slides isn't going to cut it, even though speakers think this sort of "data dump" gives them credibility. It no longer does. When the speaker is up on the riser giving the attendee their speel, the attendee is googling them on their smartphone to determine whether or not this individual knows what they are talking about.
In addition, when speakers give attendees too much left brain information, the information overload causes the brain to stress and become anxious which moves the experience to the subconcisous, and attendees slowly begin to shut out the information. The brain can only absorb complex data for about 7 to 10 minutes before it begins to move on.
So, how can we change? Here are a few ideas to consider when planning your next conference or meeting:
Garr Reynolds, Professor of Management at Kansai Gaidai, has come up with an interesting concept called Presentation Zen, which encourages speakers to follow 3 simple rules:
- Restraint: Don't put too much information on a slide. A photo with a few words should do the trick.
- Simplicity: Speak only about the things that are important to the attendee, not what is important to you, the presenter.
- Naturalness: Pretend the audience is in your living room. You wouldn't dominate the conversation or your friends would never come back to your home. Ask questions, listen carefully, and respond appropriately.
Jamie Nast, Author, Consultant, and Trainer at NastGroup, Inc., uses toys and games to break through the learning process. She has attendees dressing up Mr. Potato Head, playing with Play-Doh, and drawing self-portraits in order to engage the right side of the brain.
Lynn Stadler Randall, Managing Director at Randall Insights LLC, uses crowdsourcing to help design the meetings in order to engage attendees before the event. Having the attendees suggest speakers and topics and then allowing them to vote on them, empowers the attendee and allows for more engaging and creative sessions. She even allows sessions to be developed at the conference itself. Rent iPads for attendee real-time communication with speakers and event management to share ideas, questions, and comments about session content.