Different DNA in Meeting Design
Last October, 2019, i was part of a large conference, organized by the company that i work for, Ascendis. It was a blast because we choose not to make sales presentation but instead transmit a very powerful message to everyone that participated. The conference was called NowDo, transforming knowing into doing.
Based on that experience, one of our clients, choose the same format to deliver to all their managers the new business model. It’s like the DNA of the organization. Of course it has a lot of corporate messages and when you read it your mind starts drifting corporate way.
At first glimpse it looked easy, copy everything and paste it in a new location. But i knew it won’t work like it should because each organization or event needs its own flavor, and most of all needs to fulfill the meeting objectives. Based on this belief i convinced our client to do things a little bit different.
1We choose 4 speakers that would be perfect when thinking about their new business model. This was quite easy. We talked with them that the speech should break down to simple behaviors that participants understand and can put in practice. This input came directly from the meeting owner. We choose an inventor, a teacher, a CSR activist and an ex military officer.
2Having 4 great speakers wouldn’t be enough. My goal was to transmit their DNA so we found 4 managers that represent the company to step up and share the scene with each of the speakers. I wanted to have an authentic experience and also transmit the energy long after the event is over. It was a great decision because i found some fantastic stories that needed to be told.
3Mixing speakers with managers with MC in a great location. Each speaker went on the stage with one the managers and the plan was that each one will put questions to each other and in the end we will hear great stories that emphasis the new business model. Of course each one of the pairs made their own scenario and i let them be free because i needed authenticity. I wanted them to feel uncomfortable, to transmit real emotions. Another thing is that i didn’t want them to have a timer on stage. When talking about real life experiences you can’t cut someone just because they need 5 minutes extra. I knew they repeated, we had a last rehearsal the night before the event and i felt a really good energy.
4Last thing was to put all the things together. I had a great logistic manager, like always. Ela, my colleague, does fantastic things reading my mind before i even speak and everything went very smooth. Everybody else that was involved put on a great work and in the end i felt everybody was “Really impressed, like really impressed” quote from one of the participants. I knew everything was good because, the meeting owner, wasn’t stressed and was eager to start the conference.
5 There are a few things i could have done better:
1. I like questions, but you need to tell people from the begging that they can address 1-2-3 questions for each speaker. I thing that the MC forgot about this and we had a somehow strange situation at the end of the first session.
2. The transitions between sessions were cool, we put the participants to think and react about their own perspective or projects inside the company. We thought that this ideas put on a piece of paper could be shared but it was not the case. All the things were so personal that in the end i knew they would be of great help inside the organization.
It was a great conference, it felt good and with vibrant energy, The meeting owner goal was meet and i hope we will work in the future as well. Next time i’m looking forward to use Eric de Groot’s meeting tool.