Over the past few years the "Conference Catalyst" program has taken several different paths. It is always unique, as every conference, trade show, convention, and seminar has a distinctive purpose and culture.... and I work with the meeting organizers to fit the impact of the "Conference Catalyst" into their agenda.
In the past 18 months I have seen the program merge with being the Master of Ceremonies at a variety of different events. Often the gathering is a technology company "Users Conference". The hosting organization is investing to create an experience for their customers, and they want more than one of their executives as the EmCee and the thread that weaves all parts of the conference together.
Rarely do companies have employees who have the right skills to MC the show, plus the amount of time involved would take a key team member away from being able to socialize with clients and prospects.
Hiring a professional to take on the role of MC is a smart idea (it does not have to be me!). My clients like the opening keynote (or the shorter "pre-keynote") that is filled with powerful advice on maximizing attendance, and then the ongoing vignettes of tips that are sprinkled throughout the two or three days as I execute the EmCee duties. The merger of the "Conference Catalyst" and the Master of Ceremonies role always works, and sometimes makes the program event stronger!
It is fun to see the introverts and extroverts embrace the common message of "choosing people" while participating at the event. When people come together and share ideas with each other in "Hallway Conversations" outside the keynotes and breakout sessions, amazing things happen with the cultivation of a conference "mini-society".
Humans are "experiential beings" and we have to make our events about those in the audience, not the organizers, speakers, sponsors, etc... People know when they are the purpose for all that is planned. They also know when they are not!
I recently was involved with an event where the company was 100% committed to their client's experiences. Representatives from customers all around the world were present and they worked for months to ensure the event was not a company "commercial", but instead a community happening. The success of their "Users Conference" was evident to every attendee.
When it works, it really works!
Does your conference have a Catalyst?
Have A Great Day.
Thom Singer is known as "The Conference Catalyst". He works with meeting planners and conference organizers to set the tone for a meeting. His presentations educate, inspire and motivate attendees to engage deeper in the event and make meaningful connections. http://www.conferencecatalyst.com