Engagement/Presentation News & Views...
From Strangers To Friends: Bridging Attendee Loneliness With Conference Community
by Jeff Hurt in Conference Networking
Everybody needs to know
Somebody who cares.
Just a friendly face
You can trust to be there.
Are you afraid to be known
And not be a stranger?
Everyone’s connected but no one is connecting
The human element has long been missing
Tell me, have you seen it?
Have you seen it?
Alone by Armin Van Burren (feat. Lauren Evans)
Are Your Attendees Alone?
How often do the above lyrics apply to your attendees’ conference experience?
What will it take for conference organizers to get unengaged attendees engaged and connected?
How can conference organizers plan for authentic, deep, connections and community?
Attendees that feel separated from others or as outsiders actually feel pain. That social pain is just as real as physical pain says neuroscientists Paul MacLean.
The Bigger Picture
We are hardwired to connect. It’s part of what drives us.
From the moment of birth, we need a caregiver making sure that our biological needs are met. Even as adults, being socially connected and cared for is paramount.
The biology of our brain is built to thirst for connection. Why? As Social author Matt Lieberman says, “Because it is linked to our most basic survival needs….Our need for connection is the bedrock upon which all others (needs) are built.”
None of us are meant to be lone ranger islands in this world.
So how can we help conference attendees transition to participants and co-creators connected to each other?
We need to help them move from
How to Network Like You Really Mean It
Stop treating your schmoozing like a business card collection contest. Start over with a new goal: quality always trumps quantity.
On my desk is a decorative box that's full to the top with business cards. I've collected them at casual encounters, ASJA conferences, and speaking engagements over the past several months. I have a business card scanner, mobile business card application, and a human assistant, any of which could help me get those names into my contacts list. I haven't bothered because, deep down, I know most or all will come to nothing.
So I was more than intrigued to discover that consultant and author Andrew Sobel recommends in his new book "Power Relationships" that the best place for all those cards might be the circular file. His thesis is simple: When it comes to networking, quality trumps quantity.
"There is a penchant to meet lots and lots of people," he says. "It's fueled a bit by social media, where we're told we need large numbers of Twitter followers, followers of our blogs,LinkedIn connections and Facebook friends." In fact, he says, there are only a few professions where knowing many, many people in a superficial way can be an advantage. "Maybe if you're promoting a nightclub," he says.
For just about everyone else, he says, it's a different story. After interviewing hundreds of successful executives he found that most could identify 25 or perhaps 30 relationships that had made all the difference to their careers. And they recognized those key relationships right from the start.
That's led Sobel to recommend a different, and likely more effective approach to networking:
10 Tips to Make General Sessions More Interactive... Immediately
by Anne Thornley-Brown
Fortunately, many organizations and associations are moving to a more interactive format for conferences and internal meetings. Making a session more interactive doesn't have to significantly increase the length of your meeting or blow your budget. Here are 10 simple ways to make general sessions more interactive.
For the rest of the tips and more articles for making general sessions more interactive from Cvent, click here.Photo Credit: Neil Stimler
Six Tips To Create The Conference Introvert Advantage
Are you an introvert or an extrovert?
If you’re an introvert, you’re trendy right now. There is a lot of media buzz about introversion and their inner strengths in a primarily extrovert world.
One In Four…
At least one in four people tends to listen more than they speak, often feels alone in large groups, and requires a lot of private time to restore their energy. They are introverts says author, researcher, educator and psychotherapist Dr. Marti Olsen Laney.
According to Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking, nearly one-third to one-half of Americans are introverts. Cain got her data from Rowan Bayne who wrote The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator: A Critical Review and Practical Guide.
The Brain Science Of Extroverts And Introverts
I personally have always been skeptical about labels such as introverts and extroverts as well as personality tests. I feel that labels are a way for people to categorize and departmentalize others.
Then I started reading the work of American geneticist Dr. Dean Hamer regarding the gene D4DR and how it influences our temperament and neurochemistry. Hamer highlighted how neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, noradrenalin, acetylcholine and endorphins follow certain pathways in the brain. They direct where the blood circulates and regulate how much of it flows to various brain centers. In short, these neurotransmitters are responsible for our energy levels, excitement, motivation and learning. Thus, our response to our environment and how we behave is directly related to which parts of brain and central nervous systems are “turned on.”
Short Or Long D4DR
Dr. Laney took Hamer’s research one step further and applied it to her work on extroverts and introverts. While identifying whether you’re an introvert or extrovert is more complex than the Myers-Briggs test indicates, the brain science of extroverts and introverts is fascinating.
Extroverts have a long D4DR gene that is less sensitive to dopamine. They actually require adrenaline for their brains to create dopamine which motivates us. They also have less blood flow to the brain and have shorter pathways in their nervous system so they often bypass the area of the brain where contemplation takes place. Therefore, extroverts intentionally seek adventurous and thrilling experiences that provide higher levels of dopamine. They crave the spotlight.
Introverts have a short D4DR gene that is highly sensitive to dopamine. Too much external stimulation short circuits their thinking and exhausts them. Their nervous system pathways are longer and they find pleasure in slower-paced, orderly, low-risk activities. They receive a buzz through more quiet and reflective activities that are focused in the frontal lobe of the brain. While extroverts crave the Broadway spotlight; introverts enjoy natural light through a window.
For tips on how to help introverts make the most of your event and more from Velvet Chainsaw's Midcourse Corrections...
We've all heard the term, "R.O.I." - Return on Investment. We know how important it is that our attendees receive a return on their investment of time and money when they choose to participate in one of our meetings. But have you heard of R.O.A.?
R.O.A. is a fairly new term. Those of you who know me understand my love of acronyms, and my passion for attendee engagement. R.O.A. is the perfect marriage of both. So what's it all about?
I believe that once attendees are sitting in our meetings, we hold something of theirs more precious than their time or money: their attention. It's precious because it's so fragile and fleeting these days. You see, our culture has evolved to be ever-so-impatient and demanding of engagement at every turn. Five minutes is as long as people will pay attention our of politeness and sheer curiosity. That's all. We have no tolerance for boredom anymore.
Read More from Shawna Suckow, CMP...
Meeting Planning Tip of the Week: Tips for Choosing the Right Theme for Your Special Event
To choose the perfect theme for a special event, consider the décor, music and entertainment, as well as the food and beverage. These factors should all encompass the theme to set the right tone for the occasion.
When collaborating with an on-site event production team, consider the following:
Décor - What type of atmosphere do you want to create? Would your guests be most comfortable in a traditional setting, or would a themed special event better suit your objectives?
Entertainment - Will the audience prefer passive or active involvement in the entertainment? For instance, a more casual event can be enhanced with games, such as billiards and foosball, which let guests interact. At a more formal event, you may want to include a musical performance as part of the evening’s entertainment.
Food & Beverage - Do you prefer a full sit down meal or a lighter spread that enables guests to mingle more actively with each other? Are there any special dietary restrictions to keep in mind?
To learn more about these tips, visit http://www.qcenter.com.
Courtesy of Q Center, St. Charles, IL
Capturing attention can be a challenge when participants get rowdy, or even if there is a lot of cross-talk. Simply speaking louder and trying to shout over the group is likely to backfire. Not only do you risk alienating the group, you can risk irritating your vocal chords.
Read more from Cvent and Anne Thornley-Brown