e4’s Blog Has Moved!!!

September 8, 2009

Some great news for all of you…. Experient has  moved its e4 Blog to a new home, “Experiente4Blog.com.”

Effective immediately all postings here will discontinue.  Please come visit us at our new site and check out all the new functionality!!!


Your Experient Team


Meeting A Hero

August 24, 2009

DBeldon_headshotBy Debbi BeldonExperient

Recently I had the pleasure of reading one of my colleagues, Brenda Houlihan’s Blog entry about her experience meeting Walter Cronkite and it inspired me to share my own personal brush with fame.

My story begins in June of 2005 while on-site in one of my favorite cities, Philadelphia, for a large, education association Annual Meeting. Our jobs provide us the opportunity to see many interesting speakers and celebrities, but I have to admit that usually once I get the room loaded, I’m off to the next task and rarely stick around to listen to the presentation. That day in June, I assumed the same thing would happen as I got the room ready and all the attendees in their seats to hear the author of the book The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them” – Erin Gruwell. The presentation opened with a video clip from an interview Erin had done, and by the time the clip was finished I was hooked. There was no way I could leave the room.
Read the rest of this entry »

Final Notes from e4 Cafe “The Evolving Value Proposition of F2F Association Meetings”

August 13, 2009

Judy kent profileBy Judy Kent, Experient

Thanks to all who attended our session at e4.  I hope you all enjoyed the topic.  We loved the passion that you all showed in coming up with “What will the meetings of the future look like?”.  We looked at five burning areas/questions and focused our attention on them.  Below is a recap that you as a group developed through your sharing.  Stay tuned for a great study that will be released in October from Oxford Economics on this very topic.  It will be very educational and pivotal to our industry.  We will post it once we received.

1. Grow/Retain Membership and Attendance – What role do conventions and meetings play in increasing and maintaining membership for an association, driving attendance or motivating people to attend an association’s meeting?  Will larger meetings be a thing of the past associations shift to smaller regional meetings costing less to produce?   Do you believe associations will begin merging or partnering with other similar accredited associations to build attendance?

Halal, Kosher and Celiac! OH MY!

August 12, 2009

BHoulihanBy Brenda Houlihan – Experient

Do you get the question, “Why are you a Meeting Planner?   For myself, it was an easy transition.  I was the youngest of five children in a large Irish Catholic family.  Honestly, daily meals were food and beverage functions and birthdays were special events.  I took the skills learned at an early age and expanded to a large family of corporate and association clients ranging from 1000 – 24,000 attendees.

The food and beverage policy at home was, “If it is served, you eat it!”  There was no discussion of whether you ate meat, pasta, carbs, fish and drank milk or water.  Growing up there was no concern with fat grams, fiber, sodium or choices due to convictions.  (My mom did go through a cost cutting period where she served Carnation Instant Milk.  A one-third cup serving of NESTLÉ CARNATION Instant Nonfat Dry Milk is rich in bone-building nutrients like calcium and Vitamin D, is a good source of protein, and is fat free.  Take it from me,  I drank a lot of water during that time.)

Gone are the days of meat and potatoes. Nothing could have prepared me for the international, religious or dietary requirement of today’s conferences.   In today’s multicultural world, food choices that were once considered obscure are now part of the mainstream. Now, conference producers need to be aware of all the reasons why people choose special diets ranging from religious practices and ideological beliefs, to allergies, special diets and food sensitivities.  Read the rest of this entry »

State Dinner at E4

August 6, 2009

By Andy Smith Experient

Dinner_NixonThe e4 content has helped each of us take networking into a new dimension. Within the span of three days we integrated true Lifeline Relationship Networking with Keith Ferrazzi. Rapidly we integrated technology with blogs, facebook, linkedin, and twitter. And then the amazing happened – e4 attendees experienced time travel networking with visits from several DC based famous and infamous Presidents at the e4 State Dinner.Dinner_LincolnThe time travel was good, but there have been some troubling side effects. Suddenly jords are wumbled. Suddenly motts are jangled. Suddenly we do not know if we are in our poom or rose.   Fortunately, the fine entertainers at Capital Steps will help us regain our tasp of gralk soon.



If not, Stephen Nold has agreed to perform another pecha kucha aria to get us back on track.

Lets all be bold, give a da*n, and connect throughout the weeks and months ahead. The journey is only beginning.

Is the Conference Over Yet? Is It Ever Really Over?

August 6, 2009

headshot karenBy Karen Watson, CMP Experient

“You’ve just finished your annual conference!  What’s next?”

“I’m headed to Disneyland!”

Not kidding.  One day’s break to do laundry and re-pack and I’m taking my 7-year old to San Diego and Disneyland before the school year starts up.  

In the age of 24/7 access and the need to provide fresh content to a website or blog throughout the year to keep your audience interested, there’s barely time to think about thank you letters and paying this year’s bills before it’s on to next year’s program.  It’s almost like the concept of “annual conference” is gone because we must continue to build our audience and market the event and provide updates throughout the year.  Social media has increased both the opportunities to do this as well as the pressure to do so. 

We are insane!  I truly believe it.  But we’re also addicted.  There’s nothing like the sense that all the work has paid off and the meeting has actually happened!  And hopefully been a success!  But my mind is already racing on what will be waiting in my email Inbox when I return and what I’ll already be behind on.  Do we have fresh blog posts going in?  When can we get the photos uploaded to the website?  Is the RFP ready to issue?  What are we thinking about content for next year?  Do we need to send a reminder out on the conference survey?

Disney6It is a bit of a shame if we can’t enjoy the moment.  Relish a bit of relaxation.   A simple “Whew!”  Find balance.  Appreciate an ending before moving on to the next beginning.  And guess what?  There’s no choice but to seek that balance for ourselves, so I’m off to do just that.


Who Wants to be a Millionaire?

August 4, 2009

Headshot_cara2By Cara Beckerle, MMEO – Experient

Before it got syndicated five times a week and made into the background of an Oscar-winning movie, I occasionally watched the game show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”

The saving grace for a contestant who is stumped is one of their “lifelines.”  Millionaire gives people a 50/50 lifeline, where two answers out of four are eliminated to give a 50% chance of the correct answer; Ask the Audience, where those in the studio give a consensus of what they think is correct to help guide the contestant, and Phone a Friend, where he or she gets to call a friend one to one for help on the answer.

KFerrazziAs I was listening to Keith Ferrazzi, author of “Who’s Got Your Back,” at e4, I was reminded of this show.  Keith’s talk centered around “lifeline relationships.”  These are relationships that you can draw on to become successful in life – where you have the opportunity to be vulnerable and honest without fear of judgment.  This kind of relationship is Read the rest of this entry »