Throw a Parade Instead

February 19, 2011

When I was a child I hated parades. Actually, it wasn’t that I hated them, but I hated sitting on the side lines watching other people have all of the fun. I wanted to be the person on the float waving at the crowd. It looked like it was much more fun to participate in the parade than to just watch it.

Photo by Graham Gudgin

This is how I feel about meetings and events today. I don’t want to sit and listen to a speaker. I want to interact. I want to join in on the conversation. I want to hear their opinions and challenge them with my own thoughts. I want to hear what the other attendees took away from an educational session and what actions items they will implement when they return to work.

Many of YOUR attendees feel the same way. They want to be part of the action. They want to engage with the speakers. They want to talk to their colleagues and share ideas. They want to learn.

How can you make this happen? During the planning process, start by asking yourself and your organization the following questions:

  • How can you, as an event organizer, make learning more interactive?
  • What are you asking your speakers to do before, during and after the event to connect to the audience?
  • What platforms are set-up for attendees to connect with each other?
  • What type of opportunities are you offering to sponsors to meet participants without having to sell?
  • How are you creating an emotional connection so that your attendees want to return to future events?

The next time you are planning a special event, meeting, conference or even a rock concert, throw a parade instead. Just make sure that you have enough floats for everyone to ride on.