What’s it all about with ‘dare to be different’ when it comes to event design? Let me tell you about an infamous experiment that Hedwigg von Restorff did in 1933; she discovered 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. We don’t dare to be different. 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?
Having never been a big fan of audiobooks and the like, I resisted it for a long time. The initial driving force for me was that I have not been able to read much over the last couple of months, and I have been traveling more. So, I decided to try podcasts – and since then became hooked.
There is a sea of different shows, hosts, and topics, and one must learn to swim in it. Just like in the sea, there is a lot of garbage and one needs to sort through it to find those pearls that would bring joy. In short, podcasts are great sources of knowledge, inspiration, and fun – and now I am enjoying them. I will share my favorites at the end of this post. I like that they aren’t too narrow or highly specialized to discuss specific topics. There are so many things to be interested in in life, and if I can learn and laugh at the same time, or learn about one field and apply it to my own – that is what I am looking for.
Then, how does that relate to the blog title? Read on.(more…)
Now that IMEX America 2019 is over, I want to share my experience with you. Spoiler alert: it was awesome! ?
First and foremost, I had the opportunity to speak about Event Psychology! I was already excited about sharing insights on applying psychology and neuroscience to events with fellow event professionals, but my excitement reached new heights when I entered a packed seminar room with people standing around. It’s difficult to put into words, but it gave me goosebumps! Clearly, the event community is increasingly interested in this topic. I can see this from the feedback I received online, my own session experience, and even from looking at the IMEX agenda, which featured several similar topics like measuring emotions and using science-backed methods to enhance learning and networking experiences.
Secondly, I’d like to share three cool things I experienced firsthand at IMEX that are closely related to the subject I mentioned earlier, particularly the concept of engagement I discussed during my presentation. Here are these three things.(more…)
“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, my primary focus is on how we can leverage psychology in events. Why? In short, appealing to some core psychological mechanisms makes any event more impactful 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…)