17 ideas to add now for more memorable events

17 ideas to add now for more memorable events

  1. Mobile device charging stations – the new water cooler of your events. Make it comfortable. Add water and maybe even a list of questions people can think about relevant to your industry as conversation starters – ideal for the power-hungry introvert.
  2. Mobile app. Keep it simple, or add some bells and whistles aka participant feedback mechanisms. Every single person shows up with a device, and most of them don’t need more paper to recycle later. Enough said.
  3. Water stations, with or without fancy flavoured fruit. Keep those brains and bodies hydrated – they learn better and connect more easily to learning and sharing.
  4. White space somewhere that quiet reflections is not only encouraged but mandatory. Try a quiet room with headphones and relaxing music and a no-talking policy, a meditation room with guided meditations available in a recorded format, or just a place to zone out.
  5. Green space. Add greenery indoors, or take it outside. Just give space for information to be contextualized.
  6. Graphic content capture. If you haven’t yet seen an event where the information being presented on stage is being shared by a graphic artist live in real time to be shared later as a visual representation of content delivered and in workshop formats created by many or all of the participants, it’s time. A great takeaway too.
  7. Trending food station. Just because you read about it here doesn’t mean your participants have, so bring them something new and fresh to your next buffet. Each season brings a new favourite often involving a fresh, seasonal, local ingredient – bring it on.
  8. Scent your meetings with natural elements – but just one. One subtle scent helps memory and increases alertness – and I am not talking about incense or other artificial means that there may be sensitivities to. Try bowls of cut lemons or rosemary plants.
  9. Paper. The kind you write on, doodle on, make notes to yourself or a mindmap on.
  10. Walking breakouts. With fresh air is ideal. Try it – the conversations change.
  11. Accessibility. Try navigating your meeting space on crutches, in a wheelchair, with an air-boot on. Can you comfortably get coffee off a buffet and take it somewhere close? Are there impediments or barriers to easy movement? Ask the questions and work with your venues to increase accessibility – it will make someone’s meeting more comfortable.
  12. Add a game. Mobile. Giant Jenga. Padded fun sumo wrestling. Scrabble with industry only words allowed. Bocce over a coffee break. On an iPad. Competitive or collaborative, individual or team play. You pick. Give people easy ways to connect through play. It works to increase the chemicals in our brain that allow us to be more open to connecting and learning.
  13. Decrease your table size. Consider tables of four to six. Really, what was the last gala or breakout session you attended where eight to 10 people could carry on a conversation over a five- or six-foot round in a crowded room?
  14. Make it Instagram worthy. Let your participants create their version of your story with must-share vignettes that build on your messages.
  15. Deliver content with storytelling – in-person, with video, through performance – whatever tells the best story and leaves the audience with a “must-return” memory. Invest in content professionals. There are people who are simply better at this – find them, keep them.
  16. Consider your variables and plan ahead. At an event I attended recently, outside was scorching heat and drenching downpours. The organizers had 1,000 umbrellas, plastic sheeting, ponchos, misting fans and popsicles all available, and a great attitude about, “We can’t control the weather, but we can plan for it!” (No, they don’t want to move the event inside, ever.)
  17. Recognize and reward. Someone – actually a bunch of someones – have invested time, energy and financial resources to be at your event. Thank them often and publicly.

Please share any ideas for memorable events you have created or experienced in the comments section below. Let’s make every meeting better together.

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