Monday, October 29, 2012

Is "Playful" The Right Word For An Association Event?

I recently wrote a post for the TSNN Blog (Trade Show Network News) about the personality of an event. Having created the post several weeks ago I was a little unsure when an association meeting planner friend reached out and questioned my use of the word "Playful" in the article (I wrote it a while ago I was not even sure why I had chosen the word).

She mentioned that she has seen that word, "playful" showing up in several articles in the meetings and events industry and wondered if it was appropriate to be playful at a business environment.

I re-read the article and here is what I said:
"There was no time for people to be playful or engaged with each other, and so they were not having any “Hallway Conversations” or other meaningful interactions".
Playful?  Hmmmmm.  I think it was the right word.  I believe that being playful is needed at more business and association meetings.

Yes, yes, I know... we are all serious professionals who come to conventions and conferences to seek information, data, and content.  Content is king.  Data rules the roost.  Information is the purpose!!!

Nope, I disagree.  I think that without fun then a conference, trade show, convention or other meeting is not the right way to dispense information.  Sending a white paper would be better if attendees only want hard facts. But humans are experiential beings and without a little fun, we easily get distracted.  If the joy is missing from an event then it might SUCK.

And what is wrong with playful?  Who among us wants to be described as overly serious, stuffy, stodgy  stale, uninspired, etc....?  We have all encountered people like this and they rarely make the top of the invitation list when we host a party.  If our event has these same traits why the heck would anyone want to attend?

Playful does not exclude education.  In fact when I look back on my own schooling (formal and informal) the best learning came from teachers who served up information with some fun in the mix.

I think as planners, speakers, sponsors (and everyone who contributes to a meeting) we need to work to be playful... as we owe that to everyone who is in attendance.

Have A Great Day.

thom singer

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more, Thom.

PLAY is now a 4-letter word. Wait a sec...