Even before I got to Chaminade Resort & Spa in Santa Cruz California last weekend for W2W 2011, I was aware it was a special place. The invitation to this open space conference for event industry women was filled with references to the beauty, the relaxing ambience and the willingness of the staff to go the extra mile for the group. W2W has taken place at Chaminade every year since the inception of the conference in 2004.
"Yes! And..." is probably the most basic rule of improv. It means accept what is offered and build on it.
It's the basis for all good improv performances.
It's also the basis for creative thought and innovation.
In fact, most recently it played a large part in one of the most innovative conferences I've seen,
The Green Meetings Industry Council's 2011 Sustainable Meetings Conference .
GMIC 2011 Conference Chair Elizabeth Henderson was tasked with finding a way to use concepts from the book "Total Engagement" by Byron Reeves, in a conference situation. The book explores the use of gaming concepts in business.
She created an outline of concepts, such as teams, role playing, instant feedback, scoring and competition, and applied it to a potential conference set-up.
Then she gathered some volunteers and put them into teams.
"One was my 'Collaboration team'. I told them to use improv rules…that is, they needed to say “yes, and…” and build on ideas," she explained in a recent Engage365 interview.
In fact, I'm not even sure I like the term "marketing" in this instance. I prefer "connecting" because it's more indicative of the kind of activity that really benefits presenters and audiences alike.
This article by my friend Adrian Segar on the Conferences that Work Blog, got a lot of clicks. I suspect lots of events professionals are interested in a tool that makes it quick and easy to measure distances on a site visit. Check it out!
Imagine a conference community in which you are warmly welcomed online weeks before the event.
I'm not talking about the obligatory online event community where lip service is paid to pre-networking and the only information you receive is from conference organizers who send out the occasional press release. I'm talking about a living, breathing community that has been in existence for years, yet welcomes you, a newbie, with open arms.
There you are encouraged to share about yourself, your personal life, interests, hobbies - even what kind of personality you are. You are also encouraged to learn about the others who will be attending the conference.