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How to Spice Up Your Next Conference or Event Now

| 06/14/2017

Conference Themes are Like Hot Sauce … Spice Things Up!

A great conference theme is like a great hot sauce. Once you’ve had a meeting with a strong one, everything else seems a little bland without it. Conferences and events need compelling titles, just as books and movies do. A well-designed conference theme answers the two big questions that every potential attendee asks: “What is the conference about, and why should I attend?”

 

Why Have a Theme?

You may have noticed the growing tug-of-war at associations and professional organizations over themes. I’ve heard some organizers argue that having a theme and a content focus might exclude some conference-goers. It might make some people think the event is not relevant to them. Or a theme might not match every presenter’s content.

 

At the other end of the issue,

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Be Willing to Lead – Thoughts on the 2017 IAEE Women’s Leadership Forum

| 05/08/2017

Women are making consistent advances in leadership in the exhibitions and events industry. That’s the big headline from the 2017 IAEE Women’s Leadership Forum. But there is a caveat – they have to be willing to lead.

 

IAEE is the global association for the exhibitions and events industry. Its annual Women’s Leadership Forum is renowned for focusing on topics that are unique to women in the industry. This year I was fortunate to join more than 200 women to explore how to transform businesswomen into outstanding leaders who can contribute more broadly to their company’s or organization’s success.

 

It was an amazing experience. I was impressed with the sheer number of women in the audience and leadership positions in the exhibitions and events industry. Every one of us was there to listen, learn, and share. I’d like to share some of my thoughts on a few of the key topics this year.

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It’s Time to Get Passionate About Audience Engagement

| 04/13/2017

Engagement is one of those nebulous terms like Passion. Everyone wants it but can’t agree what it really is. Just like passion, you can feel engagement if it’s there and you know when it’s gone.

 

Engagement is a relationship about a specific thing for a specific time. It’s involvement, commitment, and personalization.

 

The big secret to building engagement is you can’t assume anything. Event participants are people and they change. The key is to determine what they need, expect, and value. Then do everything you can to create event experiences that align with those expectations. It really doesn’t matter if it’s their first conference or their 20th – the strategy is the same. People are engaged “about” something or “in” something that interests them at a particular point in time.

 

How to Engage People

You probably receive mail at your house addressed to Occupant?

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People Are Human, Too!

| 03/10/2017

I enjoy learning and finding new growth opportunities, even when it leads to a discovery of something I don’t like about myself. As a type-A personality, I often have trouble admitting the need to change. Most type-A people struggle to admit this; we just don’t tell anyone.

 

I recently listened to an interesting talk by Dr. John Hambrick as he encouraged people to “move toward the mess.” His talk was about helping others and included some eye-opening information for me. We, as messes ourselves, need to help other messes when the opportunity arises. Dr. Hambrick’s talk included three emotional, sharply-piercing points on why we (and I) don’t step up enough.

 

As a leader, I needed to hear this lesson. We don’t step up or step to for a handful of reasons, most of which are centered around self-preservation:

 

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