Tae bo, carbs, and smoking aren't the only things we're leaving behind in the last millennium. Take a look at the list below to make sure you and your company are not using outdated approaches to your meetings and events. Share these with your associates and executives as the year goes along to help keep your meetings fresh.
A Closer Look The number-one killer of meetings in the 20th century: unexciting executive presentations. Here is your chance to change that.
If you're in a position to advise your executives, offer them ways to improve their talks: use fewer, easier-to-read visuals; walk the stage instead of standing and gripping the lectern; ditch the cliche corporate phrases (no more "paradigm shifts," please!); keep presentations to 30 minutes or so.
For those executives who might benefit from it, offer speech coaching. If you're not in a position to make such suggestions, encourage the appropriate "inside" person or your producer to do so.
Hint: Couch the criticism in the context of what's best for the program and for the attendees. Encourage the executive to see the big picture, and to recognize his or her position in the agenda.
For guest speakers: Consider surprising your attendees with a presenter from an entirely different discipline--someone who can offer them useful, transferable techniques for personal and professional improvement.
History * Wordy, static speaker support graphics
* 50s and 60s bands
* Corporate speak and sports metaphors
* Single, protracted awards program
* Feel-good speakers
* Pipe and drape, austere sets
* Repetitive speaker syndrome
* Talking heads videos
* Video recaps
Hip * Fewer, concise, animated visuals
* Standing front and center, going into audience, eliminating barriers
* Disco (get out your platform shoes)
* Straight talk
* Multiple segments on different days
* Speakers with substantive messages and practical tools
* Lighting fabric, reusable custom sets, moving lights
* Short presentations, panel formats, meeting co-hosts
* Clever and upbeat with compelling soundtracks and graphics
For entertainment: Let's give the Motown and Jump Swing bands a rest. Experienced DJs and interactive dance troupes can change the tone of the evening with the flip of a CD. I never met a DJ who couldn't play every style of music perfectly. If your group really likes live bands, don't just book a good one--book one that can cover songs that hit the charts after 1969.
For your sets: Consider lighting stretch fabrics such as transformit, spandex, or a cyc (large white fabric used as backdrop). Even the simplest designs can look great and save you money. You can also use gobos (small metal cutouts placed in lighting instruments) that throw your logo or other images on the fabric for a bit more impact.
Or, rather than paying for rental sets, spend the bucks on a nice hard set and amortize it over a few meetings. Note that moving lights have become more or less standard; these instruments offer you a lot of flexibility and take your show, literally, from static to dynamic.
While everyone else is talking about change, you be the one who makes it happen. A meeting should tell a story: Make yours one they haven't heard before, and don't look back.