When it’s time to start selecting speakers, writing session descriptions, and outlining the program for a conference, it’s easy to turn to the past as a starting point. What worked last year? How did attendees respond on their post-event surveys? Should the same general format lay the foundation for your upcoming gathering?
These are good questions to ask, but they won’t necessarily unlock the creative energy of everyone on the events team. At the Singapore MICE Forum on July 27–28, the program aimed to reimagine the traditional approach to designing the attendee experience. After two days of debating how to create face-to-face communities in a hyper-connected digital age, the forum sent more than 460 business-events leaders home with new perspectives. Here are three of the most memorable quotes that can apply to your own team.
1) “Content is no longer king.” — Avinash Chandarana, group learning and development director, MCI Benelux SA
The content-is-king adage used to rule the world, but now, the world is dealing with an overload of material. Chandarana reminded the audience that finding information is easier than ever before, and a lot of it is free. With that in mind, prospective attendees aren’t likely to pay registration fees because of the sessions listed on the program. Instead, they’ll want to be part of it if they know that the environment will help activate that information via networking and knowledge-sharing with their peers. “There’s already so much content out there,” Chandarana said. “People don’t need more content. They need to connect and have conversations and collaborate.”
2) “We’re not accepting failure; therefore, innovation is not happening.” — Oscar Cerezales, chief operating officer, MCI Asia-Pacific
No one on your team wants to be the one with the idea that falls flat, but Cerezales, also the chair of the Singapore MICE Forum Committee, told the audience that the fear of failing is creating serious challenges for the events industry. “People are obsessed with fine-tuning their products and services, but the most powerful tool is not your product or your service,” Cerezales said. “It’s your business model.”
As your team looks ahead to attracting more attendees, what are some of the most drastic shifts that might disrupt your model? Encourage a culture that embraces those disruptive forces, fuels experimentation, and never shies from the possibility of failure.
3) “We measure our bottom line in the number of lives we change.” — Dave Watson, vice president of product, Spartan
At first glance, a Spartan race may not appear to have much in common with a conference. A typical Spartan competition might involve traversing 14 miles while running through fire, scaling seven-foot walls, throwing spears, and climbing under barbed wire. Not exactly the same as wearing a name badge, right? However, Watson’s closing keynote address showed the audience that the company operates on a mission that means more than the bottom line. While business events and conferences might not be able to add an obstacle course, they can be sources of real inspiration for every attendee in the crowd. In addition to giving attendees opportunities to earn education credits, events — when done well — can send them home with a newfound sense of purpose.
Interested in more insights from the Singapore MICE Forum? Check out “The Five Minutes You Should Include at the End of Your Education Sessions.”