What's the fifth anniversary wedding gift supposed to be — crystal, gold, or glass? My husband was under the impression that silicon and plastic were on the agenda: He gave me an iPod. Call me ungrateful, but electronic gadgets aren't particularly romantic. Apple Computer's little portable music player sat in the bag for about a day and a half before I finally made time to explore it. But when I did …

Meeting organizers could take a page or two from the folks who designed the iPod. The packaging is completely in synch with the product, and both deliver a definitive brand message: sleek, clean, perfect. It comes in a black cube, which, unexpectedly, hinges in the middle like a clamshell and opens to reveal two halves covered by white flaps. Draw back the flap on the right to see the iPod music player. On the left, the flap is printed with just one small word — “enjoy” — with the earphones and other accessories tucked below. An iPod might not be romantic, but it's definitely sexy. The packaging is so satisfying that I put everything back the way I found it so my husband could have the joy of opening up the box. And don't get me started on the iPod's neat touch-sensitive scroll wheel or amazing 15GB capacity that can hold thousands of songs in one small white-and-chrome unit.

Here's my point: Make every meeting an iPod moment. Whether you have critical content to communicate or a fabulous incentive reward, every event should be delivered in a way that elevates and reinforces your brand. From first mailing to pillow gift to evaluation form, the messaging should be consistent — and, if possible, more delightful than your attendees would ever expect. Just like the old Apple edict, Think Different. The iPod is utterly functional, but it's the attention to form that gives it character and makes it a gotta-have for the customer.

Make your meeting a gotta-be-there event with the same kind of effort. Even a meeting with an entirely straightforward mission can be communicated with style. Does the mood of the mailings match the mood you want to convey in the meeting? Is the registration process simple and welcoming? Have you refined your agenda so that your message is delivered as clearly and creatively as possible? Sometimes great content — or a gadget for that matter — has a more receptive audience when it comes in the right box.

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