It can be a challenge for attendees and hosted buyers to strike a balance between spending time with exhibitors and accessing educational content. For event planners, the challenge is to make keynotes and breakout sessions accessible. Last week, Ignite Business Expo role modeled a way of shaping the agenda to make it easier for all participants.
The program began at 10:00 AM each day with keynotes in the Marquee Theatre, which was set-up like a catwalk. Day 1 featured the 90 minute opening keynote. Day 2 had 3 shorter keynotes delivered by Broadcaster Jesse Hirsh, Canada’s go-to cyber guru, Frank Warren, Creator of The PostSecret Project, and George Kourounis, adventurer and storm chaser.
The trade show floor opened from noon to 5 PM so attendees could take in the keynotes without reducing the amount of time available to meet with exhibitors.
On the trade show floor, Get to Know Theatre featured 1/2 hour presentations that were easy to access between appointments with exhibitors. Topics ranges from Empowered Travel by Terry Nusyna, CEO of TN Security Intelligence and Kick Start the Focus by Dr. Kim Bercovitz, President & Chief Exercise Officer with Exercise Bytes Inc. The educational content definitely delivered on this year's theme "fresh, inspiring, insightful + absolutely unique".
On Wednesday, Cheryl Cecchetto, Founder and President of Los Angeles based Sequoia Productions, delivered the opening keynote inspired by lessons learned through designing producing some of Hollywood's most high profile special events including the Emmy Awards Governors Ball. Her presentation answered the key question "What does it take to create an event that sparkles from the start?"
Cheryl stressed the fact that the client's mission statement for the event should always be the key driver for all event elements. To underscore the fact that, inspiration can come from art, sculpture, signature venues, and even color, she quoted fashion designer Paul Smith:
"You Can Find Inspiration in Everything *
* (and if you can't look again)"
She walked us through the process the Sequoia Productions team used to design the 2012 Emmy Award Governors Ball using the color red to inspire decor, floral, entertainment, and menu choices. The client was presented with 3 - 5 options for each of these design elements.
She stressed the importance of branding to reflect the event theme with attention to all areas including collateral, signage, gifts, invitations, menu cards, dress, and even costumes for wait staff.
She shared the dramatic results with us in following event time lapse.
She also shared a number of other lessons learned from her team's events as well as some trends. For example, at Hollywood galas an emerging trend is to keep people mingling. Food and beverage choices must be made with that mission in mind. Sit down dinners with huge entrees are being replaced with set-ups consisting of lounge furniture and small plates with small bites that require minimal cutlery.
She closed by sharing how the team pulled together this particularly inspiring event.
During the closing keynote, George Kourounis, Host of OLN's Angry Planet, shared some of the world's most risky experiences in which he has participated. He spoke about dealing with fear and the importance of pattern recognition for success in any field.
He left attendees with the challenge that "if you want something you've never had you must be willing to do things you've never done". This is an important lesson whenever you need to raise the bar for the events you plan.
For more inspiration from Ignite Business Expo, also check out 4 Food and Beverage Take-aways From Ignite Business Expo, Ignite Business Expo Raises the Bar with Inspiring Decor , Sizzling Start for Ignite Business Expo, and Canada MeetWeek to Bring Toronto's Meeting Industry Together.
Photo Credits: Executive Oasis International