Meeting MPI Toronto - January/February 2015 - (Page 17)

ATTENDEE ENGAGEMENT - TRY SOMETHING By Jordan Adams, Canadian Outback Adventures & Events W hen planning an event, whether it be a conference, training workshop or team building activity, you always want to make it memorable for the attendees. Doing something new and unique at any event is key for retention, engagement and participation. If you need your team to hold on to a new concept, and it's presented in the same way as every other concept that's been rolled out before, you run the risk that it simply won't be retained at a meaningful level. This is because the audience has no reason to be engaged. It may be new information but it's not a new experience. Picture yourself in a large meeting room with a single presenter lecturing about bullet-points on an overhead. Unless its life-altering information, I'm willing to bet that shortly after you leave the room the meeting will blend into the grey, cumulative memory of every other meeting you've attended that matched this format. Your brain might file it in a folder brimming full of boredom, labeled "PowerPoint presentations." Now if the presenter did something unusual - screaming at the top of his/her lungs for no reason or breaking into song and dance - the memory may go into a folder with fewer files named "PowerPoint presentations with flare." If nothing else, it's a step in the right direction towards a unique memory that stands out and lasts. If you can aim for something truly unique where the memories fall into the category of "crazy project management challenges involving potato cannons," then it has no equal and has no competition in your mind. It will stand out and last, along with the information presented with that experience. This is why activities that mash up key learning objectives with something fun and unique, make the concepts of the day stick. There are many ideas like these floating around if you do a little digging. A great example is a program called "The New! Art of Giving" where teams complete challenges to earn non-perishable food items with which to build structures in line with company themes. The creations are then donated to local food banks. An activity like this tends to make attendees feel good about themselves, and creating that positive emotion is what will make it memorable. Some planners fear that concepts that are too radical might not be well-received by everyone. This is understandable if a group is accustomed to the same annual golf tournament or theatre style conference. But there's another substantial benefit to doing something out of the ordinary: It completely levels the playing field. Team members need to be reassured that they're not the only ones learning, developing and - heaven forbid - making mistakes along to way to achieving the overall group objectives. When a group is approached with a task/experience that is completely new, everyone starts at zero. The fear of being outperformed by an experienced member flies completely out the door if there's no experience to draw upon. No one will ever be able to say, "Based on my years of experience with potato cannons, I think you've taken the wrong approach." Giving ourselves permission to make mistakes and laugh about it, rids us of stress and opens our minds to a positive learning environment. Combining learning objectives with experiences like these ensures that concepts remain top of mind long enough to be put into practice, and for the practice to become habit, resulting in the lasting change. Team-building events are only effective when they are memorable and fun, so get out there and try something new! Jordan Adams is an Event Solutions Specialist and Employee Engagement Consultant at Canadian Outback Adventures and can be reached at | MEETING * 17

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meeting MPI Toronto - January/February 2015

President’s Message
Editor’s Word
Welcome, New Members!
Upcoming Events
Discovering Toronto’s Best Kept Secrets – A Venue Guide
Entertainment Trend Forecast 2015
Inside the Chapter: MPI Toronto’s Hidden Gems
Canada’s Hidden Gems: Ready to Welcome and Delight Groups of All Sizes
Hiding in Plain Sight: The New Niagara
Secrets for Effective Negotiation and Getting What You Want
Chapter Speaks
Attendee Engagement – Try Something New!
The Rise of Restaurant-Inspired Events
Destination Winnipeg
Advertisers’ Index &

Meeting MPI Toronto - January/February 2015