afterward was overwhelmingly positive.
People felt really alert and engaged,” he
says. “While both elements tied in with our
theme, they could easily be incorporated
into any conference and could be used to
disrupt the flow of information, and allow
people to reset and re-engage.”
19MAKE CHANGE A CONSTANT. Another way Meetingmax disrupts
its convention is by using different venues for morning and afternoon sessions.
“Splitting up the day helps keep guests alert
and to remember the content that was delivered,” says Duncan.
Break Into Groups
20MIX IT UP. For larger meetings, break into small groups, mixing up
participants who don’t normally collaborate. Assign roles to participants, such as
the Devil’s Advocate — the individual who
ensures diverse ideas are presented, or the
Idea Builder — an individual who is responsible for taking every idea presented and
building on it, says Gina Abudi, president
of Abudi Consulting Group and author of
Implementing Positive Organizational Change:
A Strategic Project Management Approach.
21CONSIDER A SIDEBAR. Networking is one of the most im-
portant objectives of most meetings. David
Blackmer, director of member experience
for AAPC, a medical coding, training, and
certification association, is always trying
new things to get attendees to interact. Side
meetings are effective, says Blackmer. The
organization hosts focus groups during its
conference with attendees that represent a
broad spectrum of the entire event’s attend-
ee demographic. “Those who attend the fo-
cus group have one shared interest, offering
their opinion,” says Blackmer. “Throughout
the discussion, attendees will form a bond
with each other and be
more enticed to openly
interact with each other
after the focus group.”
22TAKE IT OUTSIDE THE
MEETING. AAPC primarily serves those who
are involved in healthcare reimbursement. It
creates a separate event,
connected to its main
for presidents, CEOs,
and the higher tier of
healthcare management. “They attended
sessions, but most of the meals, exhibit hall time, and general sessions were
shared,” notes Blackmer.
23LEVERAGE MOBILE APPS FOR DISRUPTION. Mobile apps can be
used to disrupt your meeting, as well. “It’s
fantastic to send a message out into the
ether that you’re going to check out X or
Y tourist attraction nearby, and if anybody
wants to join you, to meet at a certain
place and time,” says Blackmer. “I’ve had
great interactions with a lot of random attendees at various events this way, and it
definitely helps bolster the networking and
24SIT ON IT. Where and how people sit impacts a meeting.
Long, horizontal rows of chairs facing a
stage where a talking head goes on and
on will not spur creativity or excitement.
According to Convene, rectangular pods
are now considered the best seating style
for promoting collaboration and comfort.
25TAKE CENTER STAGE. Other ways to disrupt your meeting include putting the stage in the middle of the
room, changing the setup throughout the
day, mixing hard chairs with soft chairs and
even beanbags and large pillows. “No matter
what set you use, make sure that your presentation can be both seen and heard by all
participants,” says Dr. Paul Radde, organizational development consultant of over 40
years and author of Seating Matters.
26INCORPORATE THE UNUSUAL. Have participants change the seating
setup, from straight row theater style to a
rounded style in which every chair is facing
the presentation, offers Radde. He also recommends challenging participants to sit in
different seats after breaks instead of returning to their “home” chair.
27PUT PLANTS IN THE AUDIENCE. And not the green
kind. Think of Saturday Night Live, which
uses cast members planted in the audience
22 I Successful Meetings I February 2018 I SuccessfulMeetings.com
attendees to scribble
on its walls