Convenings 2.0: Connecting adult learning, communication strategies and event logistics to build stronger relationships

Convenings 2.0

“The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is a relationship-based and an event-based organization. We love to bring our grantees together so they can learn, network and share best practices.”
Sterling Speirn, President and CEO, W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Hot off the press! This beautifully designed report, which can be downloaded for free by clicking on the report cover above, describes a wealth of thoughtful approaches, proposals, and standards for meetings hosted by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for its grantees. Containing extensive research by Carol and Mike Galle, and Sharon McMurray of Special D Events, I believe this document deserves wide circulation to associations, foundations, and event and association professionals.

Thirty-five subject matter expert contributors from foundations, the meeting industry, and adult learning/academia  contributed to the report, including my friends and colleagues Mitchell Beer, Michelle Bruno, Sandy Heierbacher, Carolyn Ray, Maarten Vanneste, and myself. The bibliography includes books and reports by Joan Eisenstodt, Jackie Mulligan, Maarten, myself, and many others.

The report scope includes meeting and event logistics, knowledge management, integrated communications, technology, foundation considerations, design and execution, communication and branding, a set of twenty-one recommendations, and an outline of design, execution, and evaluation process, with an appendix covering adult learning theory and its application to meetings and a glossary. Apposite quotes are sprinkled throughout the fifty-two pages.

There’s something for everyone here, folks. It’s well worth reading!

A challenge to anyone who organizes an event

Here’s a simple challenge to anyone who organizes events and asks for evaluations.

(You do ask for evaluations, don’t you? Here’s how to get great event evaluation response rates.)

Publish your complete, anonymized evaluations.

You may want to restrict access to the people who attended the event.

That would be good.

You may decide to publish your evaluations publicly, as we just did for EventCamp East Coast 2011, and as we did a year ago for EventCamp East Coast 2010.

That’s even better.

If you believe in your event, and want to make it better, why not be transparent about the good, the bad, and the ugly?

Content versus conversation

Content vs conversation 515731969_9df2505684A few days ago during an #eventprofs chat I tweeted Cory Doctorow’s remark (made in 2006 in a boing-boing post): Conversation is king. Content is just something to talk about. This inspired a variety of comments from such #eventprofs luminaries as @JeffHurt @MichaelMcCurry @lyksumlikrish @JaredGoldberg @camerontoth and @samuelsmith.

Here’s the point I was trying to make.

Sure, we need to have content at our events – something to talk about. But content is everywhere—I don’t need to go to an event to get content! If I never left my office again (now there’s a thought), as long as I paid my internet provider’s bill each month, I could choose, receive, and absorb content for the rest of my life.

And what a miserable life that would be.

I need connection, engagement, conversation to make my life meaningful. And, in my experience, so does most of the human race.

Content these days is ubiquitous. Face-to-face events are the places for powerful, life-changing connection and engagement. That’s why we need to make them the best possible environments for conversation we can. And when we do, our conversations will naturally encompass the content that is meaningful for us.

That’s why, for me, conversation is king.

Image attribution: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonz/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0