Kicking client meetings off in style is important as it sets the tone for the rest of the event. With the theme "Transform Your Meetings and Events," Cvent Corporate Meetings Summit and the Cvent Association Meetings Summit effectively transformed the opening.
In his introductory welcome remarks, Eric Eden, Cvent's Vice-President of Marketing, briefly traced the evolution of the meeting and events industry including the emergence of social media and mobile apps.
When he asked attendees to turn off their mobile devices for an important announcement that was not ready for media or social media release, a member of the audience protested. Here is what happened.
An unmanned robot camera swept over the crowd underscoring the message that mobile devices and apps are here to stay.
Eric Wahl, Graffiti Artist, and Author, delivered a highly engaging interactive session that is impossible to capture on paper. Incorporating, music, video, art, and audience participation, he inspired planners to break free from the "events as usual" mode. From black canvases, he created 3 works of art on stage including graffiti images of Bono from U2 and Steve Jobs.
The final image Erik created was upside down. He flipped it over to reveal Albert Einstein, one of the most creative modern thinkers.
Erik's challenge to event planners was to create unique experiences for attendees by starting with a blank canvas and letting the design unfold unfettered by limiting, linear thinking. He encouraged planners to look for new opportunities to integrate social media and mobile devices into events.
Erik ended by offering the Steve Jobs photo as a prize and a promise to tweet a clue about where to find it at 11:59 PM.
The colorful kaleidoscope celebration and dinner that followed the keynote put Erik's ideas brilliantly into practice. (Check back next week for more about the celebrations at the Summits.)
Cvent Corporate Meetings Summit and Association Meetings Summit continue today and Friday in Las Vegas. Check back for more reports.
At 1:13 AM today, Erik tweeted the winner of the Steve Jobs photo. Congratulations Greg Moore!
Photo Credits: Executive Oasis International