Over the past couple of weeks we’ve seen large events cancelled or postponed indefinitely during the coronavirus outbreak, and most likely we’re going to see more of such cases in the near term. I think no need to describe how challenging the times are for the events industry and – given how huge its economic and social impact of just one event can be – basically, for everybody else. I find this tweet very telling.
There are many things that we as industry are discussing now. I recently sat with Attendify team to discuss some actionable tips from event psychology perspective, and one of the things we talked about was transition from a live event to a virtual version and some obvious practical challenges for such rapid and imposed change. I’d like to elaborate more on one of the points I made during that discussion, namely – our perception of such change. Although to a large extent it’s true virtual can not replace live, I believe we should really re-consider how we think about it – and here is where behavioral science can help us understand how.(more…)
I attended the first edition of Toolkit event yesterday, and would like to share 3 things that are, among others, to make it memorable for attendees. As you can imagine – all 3 are rooted in science.(more…)
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?
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.