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?


WARNING: System Overload!

August 10, 2009

NJohnsonBy: Nora Johnson, SMMP Services Specialist, Experient

Data, reports, e-mail, blogs, websites, conference calls, voicemail, projects, news releases, reports, data, data, data: information. Chaotic and overwhelming, and made even more so as we toss in a few additional factors: past, present and future. Now that you may be experiencing an anxiety spike and your fingers are itching to check your e-mail, you should take this moment to stop and breathe

We are fortunate to have a lot of information available to us, and if not readily available, we at least have the means to gather the information. However, in trying to keep up, we find that there is more information than we can possibly process, there is information from questionable sources or there is conflicting information. Regarding information – we’re at an impasse.

How do we stop the madness? We don’t. We just need to learn Read the rest of this entry »

Remembering Walter

July 24, 2009
BHoulihanMy personal encounter with Walter Cronkite
by Brenda Houlihan – Experient, Inc.

In the event industry, we are all privileged to meet all walks of life including celebrities, politicians, or entrepreneurs.  Recently, I was reminded of my brief encounter with an American icon, Walter Cronkite.

A few years back, I was working on an event and supporting the transportation and security elements of a high tech conference.  I remember checking on the shuttle buses when a limo pulled into the WDW Dolphin porte couchere.   I had instructed the transportation company that all VIP traffic was to be directed to the front entrance.  I was noticeably aggravated, when my transportation coordinator responded, “it‘s the conference talent and they need to be dropped off at the ballroom.”

The limo pulled up and out stepped an agent, then an assistant and then Walter Cronkite.   I immediately recognized the stately gentleman because he had been invited into my family’s home each evening at 6:00 pm.   The busy activity of a home with five active kids would come to a silencing halt.  My father would command that there would be silence, an almost reverence to the “Evening News with Walter Cronkite.”   I thought how Walter Cronkite had shaped Read the rest of this entry »

R U lost w/o the WEB

July 17, 2009

BMabryM Headshoty Adrian Mabry – Experient

For many workers currently engaged in the workforce, the Web, social media and the internet have been useful additions to our available tools.  For many entering the workforce these days, technology is more than just a ‘tool’ to be used as needed.  In this article from The Denver Post – Young workers lose way without Web – By Martha Irvine – The Associated Press many workers entering the workspace are finding corporate policies regarding internet use and access restrictive.

From the employers’ perspective, these policies accomplish what they are intended – to stop workers from wasting time online.  In some cases, these restrictions are getting in the way of actual work, preventing some workers from performing legitimate internet research.  For others, it’s just inconvenient.  The thin line where all this collides exists between corporate concerns regarding time wasted online, confidentiality breaches and liability for what employees do online versus the employee’s ability to experience the Web, interact with peers via  industry chat groups, and escape, if only briefly, the daily grind of the office.

As the article notes, it is believed that nearly half of all U.S. employers now have a policy regarding social-networking site usage.  With the advent of web-enabled hand-held devices (Blackberry’s, iPhones and other PDA devices) monitoring or enforcing these policies will become even more difficult to enforce.

Being what is typically called a ‘digital immigrant’, I understand the corporate drive to limit our encounters on the Web.  I’m curious though to know what you think about corporate policies regarding internet use.

  • Does your company have a policy about internet use during work hours?
  • Does your company have a policy regarding text messaging?
  • In you opinion, does your company policy restrict internet usage too much?  Text messaging?

Perhaps we can discuss this further in DC.  See you at e4!

Career Life-cycle and Generational Professional Development

June 30, 2009

NJohnsonBy: Nora Johnson, SMMP Services Specialist, Experient

As the current economy rambles on, many individuals – and perhaps you – have revisited their current professional status. Even for those who may not feel their jobs are at risk, there is a more visible drive to grow, refresh or rebuild skills, knowledge, networks and more.

There are many models developed to represent career life-cycles and potential career paths. These cycles may include being a new hire, being promoted, dealing with internal expansion or contraction, retirement and any number of stages and possibilities in between. Several are even tailored to a particular industry or culture.


For simplicity, we need only look at the very traditional and very generic product life-cycle:  Introduction, Growth, Maturity, Decline.  As with most organizations, products and services, the goal is to reset the product life-cycle at the end of the maturity stage before beginning the decline phase, thus perpetuating growth and continuity.

Read the rest of this entry »

Young Professionals

June 9, 2009

NJohnsonBy: Nora Johnson, SMMP Services Specialist, Experient and 2009 Chair, IAEE Young Professionals Committee

“How can I attract, engage and retain young professionals?”  Undoubtedly, many of you have heard or asked a similar question in the past.  Naturally, many of you have also had two words immediately come to mind: technology and entertainment.

 In short, the answers are:

  1. Attract: Show an interest in them
  2. Engage: Invite them to get involved or give them a seat at the table
  3. Retain: See 1 and 2 and add a dash of letting them own and pursue a project or initiative

You will notice that technology and entertainment are not in the short answers.  Why are they absent?  There is a lot to be said for the relevancy of these two words.  However, the reality goes beyond a generational trend and reveals a more significant business and societal trend.  A friend of mine, who is a Director of Design for a prominent fashion line, once mentioned that the days of big department stores, such as Macy’s, dictating the fashion of the season are over.  Rather, fashion is being heavily influenced by the numerous sub-cultures in our society: the “Jocks,” the “Skaters,” the “Goths,” the “Preps” and many more.  Essentially, trends are being generated from the bottom, up, rather than from the top, down, which had traditionally been the standing model for business. 

What, you may ask, does this have to do with young professionals, technology and entertainment?  Read the rest of this entry »

Pecha What?

June 4, 2009

Headshot_DanSundtBy Dan Sundt, Chief eXperience Officer – CXO Marketing, Inc.

How many times have you sat close to the door at a conference education or breakout session just so you could escape quickly if the speaker was deadly boring?   Similarly, how often have you murmured to yourself or a neighbor that a presenter could have used one-third the time to communicate their message even more clearly?

I think, as event professionals, we have ignored for far too long what is easily the least engaging aspect of most of our meetings; lecture based education.  While there are always good operational reasons for a bad experience, it is still a bad experience for the audience when sessions are one-sided, drawn-out, lack interaction, or delivered by Dr. Dull.

Though a variety of tactics can be used to better education sessions and differentiate them from virtual solutions, one method is particularly intriguing.  Ladies and gentlemen, meet Pecha Kucha (pronounced “pe-choch-ka”). Read the rest of this entry »