This week I’m staying within the area of Experience Management as this topic is very close to my heart. I believe we can gain a lot more output from our meetings and conferences if we add some experience elements to them.
In previous blog posts, I have talked about the four prerequisites you need to meet in order to create an ‘experience’: 1. you have to put all five senses into play, 2. it is not just a question of entertainment (not just communication to a passive recipient), 3. the participant has to be able to recount the event, and 4. it has to include a novelty or something unpredictable (see the post Experience, the Revolution).
I have also talked about the ‘softer side’ of experience: the more intangible elements you need to create an experience (see the post That’s not all folks).
This time it will be much more tangible as I will let you in on the concept of the ’experience space’.
The ’experience space’ covers three elements: the space in which the event/experience takes place, the hosts/co-workers who are there, and the other participants. It is the frame that keeps the event in place…so to speak.
Let’s dive in!
This is where you can easily stimulate all the senses. The space is not necessary a meeting room; it could be out in the woods or in a tent, but no matter where you have your event, you can tickle the senses in the space by
- playing nice lounge music (hearing)
- serving lovely fresh food for maybe a signature cocktail or rum tasting (taste)
- getting your own signature scent (smell)
- giving the participants little ’toys’ to play with while listening (touch)
- showing reading friendly presentations in a beautifully decorated space (sight)
The hosts are usually employees of the company hosting the event and they have to support the experience by showing the participants their undivided attention. The hosts are there for the sake of the participants and represent their company through their behavior. The participant is not an interruption in their work…he IS their work! Focus should be on being the ultimate hosts – how do you treat your guests?
The other participants
Naturally, the other participants in an event also have an influence on your experience. Do they behave like I do? Do I feel included or left out? Do I get to utter my opinion? Are there too many or too few other participants? It is difficult for the participant to change the situation if it/the event is not as you expected, which is why it is the responsibility of the event planner to make sure that the target group is well-defined and well-balanced.
These three elements are interdependent and you need to take them all into consideration when designing your experience.
Does that sound far out….in space? :o)