Conferences That Work https://www.conferencesthatwork.com Unconferences, peer conferences, participant-driven events, and facilitation Mon, 16 Oct 2017 06:30:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 Another triumph of automated marketing! https://www.conferencesthatwork.com/index.php/marketing-2/2017/10/another-triumph-of-automated-marketing/ https://www.conferencesthatwork.com/index.php/marketing-2/2017/10/another-triumph-of-automated-marketing/#respond Mon, 16 Oct 2017 06:30:09 +0000 https://www.conferencesthatwork.com/?p=10965

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Hapless automated marketing abounds. Here’s an email I received this morning:

Subject:  Love Your Content (Collaboration Proposal)
“My name is RJ, I am the main editor at [a website about car care].

I just wanted to send you a quick email to let you know that we recently released a comprehensive blog post on “How Much!? Replacing A Catalytic Converter”.

While browsing your site, I noticed this page
http://www.conferencesthatwork.com/index.php/facilitating-change/2014/09/a-caveat-on-working-with-human-catalysts.

I believe our piece would be a great addition to your page.”

RJ “believes” his/her post would be “a great addition” to this post:

 

I am receiving more and more hapless automated marketing efforts like this: no careful thought, no subtlety, no serious attempt to check that the target might be relevant to the pitch.

Just spray and pray.

Perhaps some “marketer” thought that instead of just scraping page titles that mentioned the phrase “catalytic converter” (which might make more sense) they could increase the volume of useless mass emails (and extract more money from their client?) by expanding their target search to anyone who mentions the phrase anywhere on the page.

The only reason my post mentions “catalytic converter” is as an example of what the word “catalyst” means. Otherwise, it has as much in common with RJ’s content as a toothbrush has to a lunar eclipse.

Compare this waste of time and resources with an example of marketing done right.

Experienced and respected marketers have told me that expanding your email list is crucial to getting your message across, and I believe them.

But finding and/or creating the right email list are clearly crucial too, and every misdirected pitch I get like this one gives good marketers a black eye.

Please stop it guys!

Image attribution: Flickr user pnglife

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Join me at Blend Abu Dhabi on October 17! https://www.conferencesthatwork.com/index.php/presentations/2017/10/join-me-at-blend-abu-dhabi-on-october-17/ https://www.conferencesthatwork.com/index.php/presentations/2017/10/join-me-at-blend-abu-dhabi-on-october-17/#comments Mon, 09 Oct 2017 09:23:12 +0000 http://www.conferencesthatwork.com/?p=10984

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  3. Help Wanted—Venues for my participation techniques workshops! Please help me (and hopefully yourself)! Do you own or know of venues that would be suitable for holding my 1½ day participation techniques workshops? Helping me find a wonderful...
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I’m honored and excited to be presenting at Blend Abu Dhabi, a free one day conference for event professionals on global event industry trends, meeting innovation, and event technology at the new Yas Conference Centre, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi <details and registration>.

Also presenting are industry luminaries Julius Solaris, the editor of Event Manager Blog the number one blog worldwide for event professionals, and Shawna Suckow, The Buyer Insider, a leading expert on buyer behavior.

Here are descriptions of my workshop and presentation.

Workshop — Participation Rich Meetings
How can you make your conferences highly relevant, important, and useful to your attendees? 

Every conference attendee arrives with unique wants and needs. They may be facing specific professional challenges or want to learn more about certain topics or issues. Many will want to connect with others who share their interests or who could benefit from their expertise and experience. Unfortunately, conventional fixed-content conference programs rarely provide the level of truly effective learning and connection that is possible.

We’ve known for twenty-five years how to design conferences that provide superior learning, connections, and outcomes. Unfortunately, centuries of exposure to old-school conference culture focused on pre-determined lectures by experts makes it difficult for event planners and stakeholders to adopt proven participant-driven and participation-rich approaches for improving their meetings.

In this short workshop, you’ll experience some of the simple yet potent core techniques you can use at the start of your conferences to uncover and facilitate the connection, learning, and outcomes your attendees actually want and need. You’ll learn, share, and connect with other session participants in ways that are relevant to your wants and needs without the use of artificial “ice-breakers” or high-tech. You’ll leave with key understandings and the motivation to incorporate participant-driven and participation-rich design elements into your meetings.

Presentation — Creating Participatory Meetings That Deliver Learning, Connection, Engagement, and Action
As meeting professionals, it’s easy for us to zero in on the extensive logistical requirements of any modern conference — that’s what we do! Unfortunately we invariably take for granted the traditional conference format we’ve experienced our entire lives. You know what I’m talking about: conferences where a few experts share content to an audience of passive listeners, and connections between participants are expected to occur outside the sessions during breaks, meals, and socials.

Well, today there’s a significantly better approach to conference design. An approach that creates and supports more effective active learning, more useful connections, greater engagement, and better action outcomes.

We now possess the tools to make fundamental meeting improvement happen!

This presentation (which includes some experiential learning) will introduce you to the global business and meeting industry trends that are making participant-driven and participation-rich formats increasingly crucial requirements if you want to keep your face-to-face events healthy, growing, and relevant in today’s world.

We’ll also cover the basic components of participant-driven and participation-rich conference designs that will deliver improved learning, connection, engagement, and action outcomes to your attendees and stakeholders.

 

I’m looking forward to experiencing the Yas Conference Centre (Abu Dhabi’s newest venue), meeting regional event professionals, and exploring the United Arab Emirates. I hope to see you there!

Read the full article at Conferences That Work ]]>
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How well do 4-hour lectures work? https://www.conferencesthatwork.com/index.php/learning/2017/10/how-well-do-4-hour-lectures-work/ https://www.conferencesthatwork.com/index.php/learning/2017/10/how-well-do-4-hour-lectures-work/#comments Mon, 02 Oct 2017 10:41:08 +0000 http://www.conferencesthatwork.com/?p=10944

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How well do 4-hour lectures work? Here’s Anonymous Insider, a medical school student writing about his classroom experience this week:
Read the full article at Conferences That Work ]]>
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How to use dot voting to choose the sessions your attendees need and want https://www.conferencesthatwork.com/index.php/event-design/2017/09/how-to-use-dot-voting-to-choose-the-sessions-your-attendees-need-and-want/ https://www.conferencesthatwork.com/index.php/event-design/2017/09/how-to-use-dot-voting-to-choose-the-sessions-your-attendees-need-and-want/#respond Mon, 25 Sep 2017 11:05:10 +0000 http://www.conferencesthatwork.com/?p=10902

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How do we build conference programs that attendees actually want and need? Since 1992 I’ve experimented with multiple methods to ensure that every session is relevant and valuable. Here’s what happened when I incorporated dot voting into a recent two-day association peer conference.

Read the full article at Conferences That Work

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How to accidentally write a popular blog post https://www.conferencesthatwork.com/index.php/marketing-2/2017/09/how-to-accidentally-write-a-popular-blog-post/ https://www.conferencesthatwork.com/index.php/marketing-2/2017/09/how-to-accidentally-write-a-popular-blog-post/#comments Mon, 18 Sep 2017 11:00:23 +0000 http://www.conferencesthatwork.com/?p=10708

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I accidentally wrote a blog post that receives more than a million page views every year. For proof, type “delete mail” into Google. My post How to delete ALL mail messages from iPhone/iPad in one step is #1 of the 127+ million results.

Actually, I’ve accidentally written several popular posts, and I’ve finally figured out what happened. Want to know what I’ve learned, so you can deliberately write popular posts? Read on!

Read the full article at Conferences That Work

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Why experiential learning is superior to every other kind https://www.conferencesthatwork.com/index.php/learning/2017/09/why-experiential-learning-is-superior-to-every-other-kind/ https://www.conferencesthatwork.com/index.php/learning/2017/09/why-experiential-learning-is-superior-to-every-other-kind/#comments Mon, 11 Sep 2017 11:02:27 +0000 http://www.conferencesthatwork.com/?p=10873 No related posts. ]]> Why is experiential learning superior to every other kind? In a word: feedback. Jerry Weinberg explains simply and concisely.

“Why is reading or writing something different from doing something?

First consider reading. Reading is (usually) a solitary activity, with no feedback. Without feedback, there’s no check on what you believe you’re learning.

Now, writing. Unless you put your writing in the hands of someone (or perhaps some computer analysis app), there’s also no feedback, so there’s no check on whether you wrote sense or nonsense.

When you do something, you interact with the real world, and the world responds in some way. With the world’s feedback, you have the possibility of learning, confirming, or disconfirming something. That’s why we strongly favor experiential learning over, say, lecturing or passive reading or writing.”
—Jerry Weinberg, Why is reading or writing something different from doing something?

Photo attribution: Flickr user mikebaird

Read the full article at Conferences That Work ]]>
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My treadmill desk — the next generation https://www.conferencesthatwork.com/index.php/personal-effectiveness/2017/09/my-treadmill-desk-the-next-generation/ https://www.conferencesthatwork.com/index.php/personal-effectiveness/2017/09/my-treadmill-desk-the-next-generation/#respond Mon, 04 Sep 2017 10:48:27 +0000 http://www.conferencesthatwork.com/?p=10817 No related posts. ]]> I’ve replaced my treadmill desk with a simpler, cheaper, and better alternative!

Five years ago I shared my initial and follow-up experiences with a treadmill desk. Since then I’ve walked over 1,600 miles while working, and have seen a clear correlation between my general level of wellbeing and regular use of my walking desk for (typically) a couple of hours a day.

Last week, however, I noticed that my upper arms were aching after using my desk. After a few days experimenting, I realized that the height of the commercial plastic shelf I’ve been using since 2012 was causing my shoulders and upper arms to tense up while typing, leading to the achiness. Though this hadn’t happened before, I’m getting older and creakier and I needed to do something if I was going to continue to reap the benefits of my walking-while-working routine.

Googling “DIY treadmill desk” led me to the post How to Build a Treadmill Desk for Under $20! which acknowledges the original inspiration of Super Cheap DIY Treadmill Desk. Both articles described a simple, cheaper, and better solution to my problem.

Simple, because I could quickly build a better shelf myself.

Cheaper, because I used materials already in my possession. (But even if you bought everything, it should cost you less than $20.)

Better, because the new shelf:

  • rests on the arms of my treadmill at a perfect height for me to type with my forearms level, avoiding the scrunched up shoulders my old desk required, and;
  • is twice as wide as the old one, giving me a place to rest reference materials right next to my keyboard while writing.

Materials: a piece of plywood, two brackets, four screws, two hooks, one bungee cord.

Tools: saw, tape, pencil, screwdriver.

Time: about an hour.

Here’s the side view of my finished shelf. The brackets were only needed because my treadmill’s arms have a gentle slope. Some treadmills have horizontal arms, making construction even easier.

Construction is so simple that these pictures and the referenced articles should contain all the information you need. Though I don’t regret purchasing my (now discontinued) commercial shelf in 2012, this homemade version is a great improvement. If you have a home or office treadmill and want to work while walking, this is the way to go!

Read the full article at Conferences That Work ]]>
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How to crowdsource conference sessions in real-time https://www.conferencesthatwork.com/index.php/event-design/2017/08/how-to-crowdsource-conference-sessions-in-real-time/ https://www.conferencesthatwork.com/index.php/event-design/2017/08/how-to-crowdsource-conference-sessions-in-real-time/#respond Mon, 28 Aug 2017 10:56:51 +0000 http://www.conferencesthatwork.com/?p=10777

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Here’s a real-life example of how to crowdsource a conference program in real-time.

In May 2017 Liz Lathan, Tom Spano, and Nicole Osibodu invited me to design and facilitate the session crowdsourcing at the first Haute Dokimazo unconference in Austin, Texas. Eighty invited participants from around the U.S. spent a joyful and productive day at the Austin Children’s Museum’s Thinkery where we crowdsourced a program focusing on event portfolio needs and wants of brands and agencies.

Watch this three-minute video for a taste of the event — then read on to learn how we crowdsourced the program.

Pre-crowdsourcing work
Every peer conference has an arc that includes and integrates three elements: a beginningmiddle (the program itself), and end (reflecting, evaluating, and developing individual and group outcomes & next steps).

The beginning is when crowdsourcing takes place, and before crowdsourcing it’s critical that participants get to learn about each other as much as possible in the time available. The best way I know to support initial inter-participant learning and connection is The Three Questions process I devised in 1995 (see my books for full details).

After quickly introducing and having the group commit to six agreements to follow at the event, we had forty-five minutes available for The Three Questions. To ensure each person had time to share, we split the participants into four equal sized groups, each led by facilitators I had trained the previous evening.

Once group members had learned about each other, we reconvened to crowdsource the afternoon program.

How we crowdsourced the Haute Dokimazo program
Crowdsourcing took just 25 minutes. Participants used large colored Post-it™ notes to submit session topics. Pink notes were used for offers to facilitate or lead a session, and other colors were used for wants, as explained in the diagram below.

As topics came in, they were read out aloud. Once we had everyone’s responses, the participants left for their morning workshops while Liz Lathan and I moved the note collection to a quiet space, clustered them…

…and worked out what we were going to run, who would facilitate or lead each the session, and where it would be held.

The resulting sessions
During lunch we checked that the session leaders we’d chosen were willing and available for the schedule we’d created. Finally, we created a slide of the resulting sessions, added it to the conference app, and projected the afternoon program on a screen in the lunch area.

This is just one way to crowdsource a conference program in real-time. Want a comprehensive resource on creating conference programs that become what your attendees actually want and need? My next book The Little Book of Event Crowdsourcing Secrets contains everything you need to know. Learn more, and be informed when it’s published in 2018.

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How to inspire transformational learning https://www.conferencesthatwork.com/index.php/learning/2017/08/how-to-inspire-transformational-learning/ https://www.conferencesthatwork.com/index.php/learning/2017/08/how-to-inspire-transformational-learning/#respond Mon, 21 Aug 2017 11:13:45 +0000 http://www.conferencesthatwork.com/?p=10506

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  3. The Solution Room—a powerful conference session There’s been a lot of interest in The Solution Room, a session that I co-facilitated last July at Meeting Professionals International World Education Congress in Orlando, Florida. It is one...
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Why do some learning experiences stay burning in our brains and others fade into oblivion?
Read the full article at Conferences That Work ]]>
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Impediments to AI matchmaking at events https://www.conferencesthatwork.com/index.php/event-design/2017/08/impediments-to-ai-matchmaking-at-events/ https://www.conferencesthatwork.com/index.php/event-design/2017/08/impediments-to-ai-matchmaking-at-events/#comments Mon, 07 Aug 2017 10:42:41 +0000 http://www.conferencesthatwork.com/?p=10651

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  2. Undiscussed topics at EventCamp East Coast In my experience, when you get a group of professionals together and give them the opportunity to determine what they’d like to talk about, you’ll end up with enough viable...
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As companies begin to market artificial intelligence products for improving matchmaking connections at meetings, unresolved issues could impede adoption of this technology, especially by attendees.Read the full article at Conferences That Work ]]> https://www.conferencesthatwork.com/index.php/event-design/2017/08/impediments-to-ai-matchmaking-at-events/feed/ 5