Sometimes the hardest thing about finding a better way to do something is taking time away from doing it the wrong way. So when 60 meeting professionals escaped their busy schedules to attend LEAP 2015, an innovative program designed by the Northern California and Southwest & Pacific Chapters of PCMA, we knew we were breaking ground.

The objective of the event was to challenge the way we think about meetings in order to change the way we plan meetings. The result was a testament to the power of collaboration, attendee engagement, and design thinking.

Here's a summary of the event's highlights:

DESIGN THINKING

Attendees captured key messages and concepts with doodles, later used for a colorful, inspiring collage.

Attendees captured key messages and concepts with doodles, later used for a colorful, inspiring collage.

Don Jones of Cadence Meetings & Incentives and Carl Winston of San Diego State University introduced the concept of design thinking, a process of strategizing all aspects of your event with the audience in mind. Here's their top five points:

Don Jones and Carl Winston engage the LEAP 2015 audience.

Don Jones and Carl Winston engage the LEAP 2015 audience.

  1. Challenge traditional use of PowerPoint
    Coco Chanel famously advised to look in the mirror and take off one thing before leaving the house. The same concept goes for the amount of content jam packed in a presentation... Have your speaker reduce the number of slides and discover additional ways to communicate information.
  2. Coach your speakers
    Collaborate on ways to make sure the speaker is engaging your audience and fulfilling the objective of your event.
  3. Challenge length
    “If I had more time I would have written a shorter letter.” – Pascal (Less is more. Got it?)
  4. The days of “sit down, shut up, and listen” are over
    Create multi-directional conversation by allowing the audience to chime in
  5. Check in with your audience
    Make eye contact, get in their space, ask questions, and redirect when you need to

WORKSHOP ROTATIONS

By bringing in a few innovative and creative workshops, we experienced memorable and entertaining ways to incorporate design thinking to our events and work lives.

Tracy Judge, Director of Business Development at Cadence Meetings & Incentives, represents Rudolph during an improve session lead by Josh Bukstein. 

Tracy Judge, Director of Business Development at Cadence Meetings & Incentives, represents Rudolph during an improve session lead by Josh Bukstein. 

Josh Bukstein of NERD Improv taught us how improvisation can:

  1. Build trust amongst teams to drive innovative brainstorming sessions
  2. Train speakers to focus on their audience and improvise as needed to increase engagement
  3. Encourage individuals to listen to peers in face-to-face and virtual environments

Kai Kight took us on a creative journey that encouraged us to:

  1. “Zoom Out” and look at the full-scope of an event
  2.  Use storytelling to drive emotions to increase attendee engagement
  3. Connect personal passions to our work lives to enhance our professional performance

Sabrina Molinari from Davrina introduced us to innovative technologies that reminded us that:

  1. Price should not stunt your creativity- think big then find creative ways to execute those ideas within your budget
  2. Effective use of technology can enhance your message

As we head back to the rush of office life, we are confident in the role Design Thinking will play in our Meetings & Incentives division. Tell us, when was the last time you found yourself participating in a corporate event instead of just attending it? What drove you to feel engaged and captivated? Let us know in the comments section below.

 

 

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