In 1933 Hedwigg von Restorff did an infamous experiment to discover an effect which was eventually named after her (“von Restorff effect” or “isolation” effect). She handed participants of the study a sheet of paper with sets of letters on it. It was completely random sets of three letters each, which at some point included a set of numbers. So it looked like that:
bgu, dwa, pkl, 396, yft, jyo
And then she asked them to recall the items.
An amazing finding of the study (which has since been widely leveraged) was that people were much more likely to remember the items that were different from the rest (in this case it was a set of three numbers, but further research showed that is true for whatever stands out).
That made me think that oftentimes, when planning an event, we copy what others do. I guess the reasons are a) we follow the trends b) we want to improve our own event by implementing the best practices c) we fall victim to status-quo: if something has proved to be working well, why change that?
And it seems to be reasonable – at least, two of the reasons are pretty justifiable. Yet, the isolation effect shows us that to really stand out and get stick in one’s memory – which is the primary reason why attendees would come back to your event – we don’t need to be exactly better than competitors. While fine-tuning and improving event design is no doubt what we want to pursue, to make a difference we would need to do something differently. Musical keynote? Fascinatingly weird topics? Stunning concept? Leveraging event psychology tools to provide a lasting impact? There are many ways to get in the spotlight and most important, stay there. As Sally Hogshead famously put it, ‘different is better than better’.
In the context of our industry – I’d say, the goal is not to get better in designing events, but to do it differently.
Would you dare to be different?
I’ve recently become a fan of podcasting. I’ve resisted it for a long time because I am not an audio person, so listening to audiobooks is not my cup of tea. But the starting driving force for me was that I haven’t been able to get much time to read over recently, and I have been travelling more. That’s how I decided to give podcasts a try – and since then got addicted.
Of course, it’s a whole ocean of various shows and hosts, and topics, and one needs to learn how to swim in it. There is a lot of garbage just like it is in the ocean, too, and one needs to sort through it to find those pearls that would bring joy. Ok, so in short, podcasts are great source of knowledge, inspiration, fun – and now I am enjoying it. At the end of this post I am going to share my favorites; one of the best things about them is that they are not highly specialized or too narrowed to discuss specific subjects. Life has so many facets everyone of us can be interested about simultaneously, and if I can learn and laugh, or learn about one field and get it applied to my own – that’s exactly what I look for.
Well, but how does it all relate to this blog’s headline though? Read on.
All right, so IMEX America 2019 is now over, and I’d like to share how it was (Spoiler: it was awesome 🙂 )
First, of course – I got to speak about #eventpsychology! While I was already very excited about the opportunity to share insights on applying psychology and neuroscience to events with fellow eventprofs, I got even more excited when I saw a packed seminar room with people even standing around. That gave me some goosebumps! Event community’s interest in the topic has been definitely growing. I can say that from what I see shared online; from my very own session experience; and by looking at IMEX agenda where quite a number of similar topics have been included this year (e.g. measurement of emotions; improvement of learning and networking experience based on science, etc).
Second, I’d like to share three cool things I’ve got to experience first hand at IMEX which – no wonder – are highly related to my favourite subject above and in particular, to the concept of engagement I talked – among other things – during my presentation. Find out what these 3 things are:
“On average, 1 in 7 have met a significant other at an event“. This is quite a romantic stats I learnt from a 2018 Cvent/Edelman research ‘Inside the Mind of Event Attendees’ that surveyed 3 000 event participants from the US, UK and Germany. I guess, ‘When we meet we change the world’ gets one more meaning now 🙂
Well, there are some more, equally amazing, numbers (read the full report here).
I decided to pick up a few most interesting conclusions and add practical ideas to transform these insights into practice. On the picture below you can see “inside my mind” by the way – my ‘ink thoughts’ pictured by the Braintone Art device on AE&ES stand in Las Vegas – amazing experience!).(more…)
Instead of ‘event industry trends for 2019’-style post, this time I’d like to talk about something that goes timeless. I think now it is just the right moment: we talked a lot about ‘event experience’ in 2017 and partly in 2018. This year we’ve had much many conversations about event industry legacy and its scope of impact. This means to me that we are finally approaching that state of affairs where majority of industry professionals are getting aware about true value events hold. And this is why we start hearing ‘strategic events’ more often.
Below is my take on what makes up strategic events – the post was originally published on MeetingMeanBusiness blog in July 2018. I do believe what we need for 2019 is to talk in more detail what strategic level is and how you get your event there.
As you may notice, I am genuinely interested in how we can leverage psychology in events and event design. Appealing to some core psychological mechanisms on which we operate (consciously and unconsciously) makes any event-related action more natural and brings more results easier.
I got to think about it again recently because I came back from IMEX18 in Las Vegas, and there were a few moments that I’d say provide good examples to the above.
In my today’s post I am going to practice what I preach. With IMEX America I am attending in 2 weeks, I thought I would use this occasion to illustrate my tips on how to get prepared for the event. Attending events as large and intense as IMEX can feel both exciting and overwhelming, and it definitely pays off spending some time to structure your thoughts and plans for the actual experience to be more productive and relaxed. Here is a checklist of what to do before the event; read more to see my accompanying notes and examples. (more…)