These 6 Hacks Will Revolutionize Your Events

Lori Halley 04 March 2015 0 comments

Highlights from our Revolutionize Your Meetings & Events Webinar, with Jeff Hurt

Are your events stale and predictable? Stuck in an out-dated rut?

Last week, Jeff Hurt offered the Wild Apricot Expert Webinar audience 6 event “hacks” and some paradigm-shifting ideas to help us harness disruption in order to revolutionize our association, club and non-profit events.

During the webinar, Jeff – a self-proclaimed “education evangelist” (and Executive Vice President, Education & Engagement at Velvet Chainsaw Consulting) – led the 350+ participants in an interactive presentation about:

  1. Six big conference disruptors.
  2. The effective function of content in conference education programming.
  3. The evolving role of a speaker in 21st century education.

“We need a new breed of conference organizers”

We can all learn and network anywhere and everywhere online. So “business-as-usual” or ho-hum traditional events don’t really cut it anymore, especially with Millennials who believe we can all meet online rather than at an event.

Jeff suggests that there are disruptors coming, so we can either fall victim to these or preempt them by causing change to happen. This involves changing your attitude towards your role in developing events, as well as the expectations of your event participant. We need to shift to focusing on designing an attendee experience.

Jeff suggests that “we need a new breed of event organizers that are brave and courageous” to turn things around and “disrupt the event industry”. We need to change some of our habits – for example, we should stop:

  • Focusing on content over customers
  • Putting speakers over learners
  • Putting committee control over smart business growth strategies

What are “Event Hacks”?

Jeff offered 6 “Event Hacks” to help revolutionize our events. In this context, he noted that these hacks, are “anything that increases your value or ROI and/or creates value, behavior, and skill change.”

The 6 event hacks Jeff offered up include:

  1. Identify your top 3-4 target markets and focus on serving them first - they are key to profitability.
  2. Be a brave, courageous professional that sees yourself as an experience designer and your registrants as participants and co-creators.
  3. Become a curator of content. Help attendees uncover what content means and use it as a tool to develop deeper understanding and discuss ways to apply content.
  4. Focus on “learning design” not transfer of information. And consider speakers as facilitators of learning.
  5. Paid registrants are looking for understanding & wise application of takeaways, not just information.
  6. Technology should be a tool to increase engagement and add to an attendee’s experience.

More content isn’t always the answer

Sometimes our desire to cover more content actually leads to what Jeff calls “content bulimia”. It can reinforce “surface learning” and also lead to participants quickly forgetting the information they received. When we make the transition from delivery of information to a learning design environment, your event audience goes from a “sit and get” format to a “rest and digest the content” where they can discover, understand and uncover takeaways they can apply.

Paradigm shift: It’s no longer about the “sage on the stage”, it needs to be about a “guide on the side”

Jeff also suggested that in a new interactive learning environment, we don’t want to simply broadcast information out at attendees. There is still a role for experts, but we need to move away from the “speaker as dispenser of information”, and instead, see their role as facilitators of learning. Speakers should be asking helpful questions and letting the audience wrestle with and discuss the information. Your participants expect to leave the event with relevant “takeaways” and solutions they can implement.

Webinar video & presentation

This was a powerful session, with lots of insight and thought-provoking information. If you’d like to watch the full one-hour webinar video, or review the full slide presentation you can find them both here.


Image source:  Both images were taken from Jeff Hurt's Revolutionize Your Meetings and Events webinar presentation (in 
Haiku Deck).

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Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot] Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]

Published Wednesday, 04 March 2015 at 8:30 AM

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