The best meeting professionals are artists: planners, caterers, hoteliers, entertainers, transportation experts, speakers, florists, printers, website creators, set designers, etc.... all have their stoke of the brush, their solo, and their notes to hit in order to make a conference a lasting success. When they all work together they change the world for those who are in audience.
Do attendees arrive at the event knowing they are about to experience art? I do not think so, but when the event is amazingly unique, they know it when they see it. A live meeting can move people in incredible ways. Education, inspiration, motivation, fun, and thought are all meshed together to create action of the mind and soul.
Humans are experiential beings. While we spend a lot of time focused on content (and content is important), we need more than facts, figures, research and spread sheets to curate a convention. A meeting room, presentations, and meals are not the whole of the conference, and the best planners know that they must stretch our of the norms to engage today's conference attendees.
It is delightful working with other meeting professionals who want to try new things and are willing to take some risks. Over-thinking how 100% of an audience will react is a sure way to create vanilla. While vanilla is delicious, it is rarely the flavor that is remembered as bold and unique. Because there are so many pieces to a multi-day conference it is important to remember that there are a variety of ways to impact the experience.
I get excited by thinking of meetings as an art form. Sharing this concept gets some to roll their eyes while others scream "YES". Conference planning is more than paint by the numbers. To transform people and give them an experience you need to stick your hands in the paint and squish some stuff around. Add new pieces and take away what some may have come to expect.
Art is messy, but it is also fun.
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