Construct. Deconstruct. Reconstruct.

Construct. Deconstruct. Reconstruct.

By Liz Giannini, Senior Account Manager

Your cab drops you off in the middle of a changing Chicago neighborhood…Fulton Market; once a gritty meatpacking district, is being transformed into a tech and foodie hot spot. The glimpse of the Google office and the new Ace Hotel flash past your window and you are delivered into the urban Morgan Manufacturing space – the location of Association Forum’s June 28, 2017 Forum Forward conference event. With one step in the door, you’re already excited about what’s ahead…

The day is framed in an easy-to-remember theme and added challenge to:  Construct. Deconstruct. Reconstruct. The path for an “experience” is thoughtfully laid out;  the format of speakers arranged as opening and closing presenters with Insight Lab presenters in the middle portion of the program. The seating is different, too – comfy couches intermixed with an array of chairs in a pattern of rows; and the room set-up has you exploring different spaces throughout the facility – upstairs and downstairs all within the confines of industrial elegance. That’s how interesting it was to arrive, but what were the key takeaways?

A few engaged AMC team members share what they walked away with:

Bruce HammondBruce Hammond, CAE, Director of Governance & Operations, American Society of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
My key takeaway was just how important providing a digital experience for your events is. Speaker Jennifer Kingen Kush, Executive Director of the PCMA Digital Experience Institute, shared a case study on how PCMA has embraced using technology to enhance its events and further extend the content to those who are unable to be in person at the meeting. Experience is the key word, and they do so by providing opportunities for the online audience to engage with speakers in real-time and even get content that the in-person audience doesn’t get. Starting small is key, but dipping your toes in the water is an important step forward for the experience you provide as a part of your meeting.

Kelly PodkowaKelly Podkowa, Account Manager, American Board of Neuroscience Nursing and the Agnes Marshall Walker Foundation
I think overall the key takeaway/theme was the importance of an attendee’s time and experience while they are at conference or an educational event.  Organizations should focus on return on investment as well as return on experience because that makes the conference memorable. I went to a Virtual Reality/Story Telling break-out session which was interesting. They explained how virtual reality allows an individual to create their own story rather than being told a story.  It allows attendees to reconstruct their education which will give them an emotional connection to the material.  Unfortunately, they said that there are no associations that they know of that have done anything with Virtual Reality and so far it’s cost prohibitive but, it’s something to keep in mind for the future.

Stephanie WimmerstedtStephanie Wimmerstedt, Operations Manager, National Association of Neonatal Nurses
I enjoyed the presentation by Jamie Notter, Founding Partner of WorkXO on unlocking the power of your organization’s genetic code. He spoke about how the culture of your association is what differentiates you from other organizations. He shared the importance of understanding the values and the dynamics of your organization to help lead your organization to the brightest future.

Liz GianniniLiz Giannini, Senior Operations Manager, Awards and Personalization Association and the Metal Construction Association
For me, the event itself was the biggest takeaway. As an association professional, I need to push myself to see how we can look at our events and experiences differently and with a fresh perspective. Not all of the sessions provided direct takeaways that I could implement the next day but, they pushed me to think outside of my day-to-day and the feeling of “doing what we always do”. I think it’s important to step away from the office for a day of inspiration. The other big takeaway was from the Power of Digital: Reconstruct Your Events to Enhance Your Reach and Engagement session with Jennifer Kingen Kush, DES, from the PCMA Digital Experience Institute. Within the presentation, Kingen Kush provided data that showed how their digital events have contributed to member engagement as well as recruitment and retention. They have spent time and resources dedicated to furthering their business goals by taking a deep dive and correlating their digital attendance to their other program and product purchase behaviors and patterns.

Have you attended an industry conference recently that created an environment to make you think and feel differently? How can you use that inspiration in your day-to-day or within your own association meetings and events? How can you apply the challenge to Construct, Deconstruct, Reconstruct?

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