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5 lessons from the TED conference - May 2011 Cover Story Meetingsnet.com

5 lessons from the TED conference - May 2011 Cover Story Meetingsnet.com

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Published by Ruud Janssen
5 Lessons from the TED conference - Engage their Brain - The cover story article of Corporate Meetings & Incentive's Magazine May 2011 edition - What we can learn from TED conferences source = http://meetingsnet.com/corporatemeetingsincentives/news/lessons_ted0426/
5 Lessons from the TED conference - Engage their Brain - The cover story article of Corporate Meetings & Incentive's Magazine May 2011 edition - What we can learn from TED conferences source = http://meetingsnet.com/corporatemeetingsincentives/news/lessons_ted0426/

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Published by: Ruud Janssen on May 23, 2011
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 e n ga g e
 t h e i r
 b ra i n s
make itpersonal
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MEETINGSNET
.COM
May 2011
/CORPORATEMEETINGS&INCENTIVES
 
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CORPORATEMEETINGS&INCENTIVES/
May 2011
MEETINGSNET
.COM
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The core and content of every TED confer-ence is simple:
“Ideas worth spreading.” Forcorporate meeting professionals, the idea mostworth spreading could be the idea of TED itself.The annual conference, held at the Long BeachPerforming Arts Center, brings together diversespeakers and listeners for four days of presentationsand networking. And it has one advantage thatcorporate planners may never have: TED choosesits audience. “Without an amazing audience, wecouldn’t attract amazing speakers,” organizers say atTED.com. “Our speakers aren’t paid—they attendbecause of the audience.”That’s not the only meeting tenet flipped onits head by TED. The conference is driven towardcomplexity on one hand—its attendees representa broad swath of disciplines, its topics a world of ideas—and toward simplicity on the other—thereis but one thing on the agenda: presentations,none more than 18 minutes long.You may have seen some of those presenta-tions, in fact. They’re now known as TEDTalks,and most are on YouTube, where they’ve garneredhundreds of millions of views. Expanding itsaudience is another thing TED does well. Three years after it began posting talks, TED posted, ina way, its secret sauce. June 2009 saw the launchof the TEDx brand—local TED-like events thatfollow strict guidelines. (See www.ted.com/pages/tedx_rules) In less than two years, more than1,500 TEDx events have been held worldwide.“We created TEDx in the spirit of TED’smission of ‘ideas worth spreading,’” says ChrisAnderson, curator of TED and founder of theSapling Foundation, which acquired the TEDConference in 2001. “The program is designed togive communities, organizations, and individualsthe opportunity to stimulate dialogue throughTED-like experiences at the local level.“With a license for a Corporate Event, corpora-tions can organize private, employees-only [TEDx]events ... to highlight ideas within corporationsand to foster a culture of passion, inspiration, andcollaboration—to enable employees to step outsideof their daily routine and be inspired.”A closer look at TED could inspire you tothink outside your day job, too.
Here are fivebig ideas that might help you think about yourmeetings in a new way:
CURATE
In TED-spek, meeting pln-ners re curtors. Or shouldbe. Point number one in theTEDx orgnizer guidelines:“More thn nthing else,the content is wht defines TED event.” If ou choosepresenttions tht “provokeconverstions tht mtter,”ou’ve done our job.“Just s  museum cur-tor hndpicks works to mkeup  complete nd meningfulexhibition, I work with ourtem to identif ides worthspreding,” ss TED CurtorChris anderson. “We selectour spekers nd tlks bsedon their relevnce, newness,innovtion, impct or potentilimpct, nd interestingness.”avid TED wtcherRuud Jnssen, founder ofarlesheim, Switzerlnd–bsed The New ObjectiveCollective, which helps org-niztions crft live, digitl,nd hbrid event experi-ences, hs orgnized twoTEDxBsel events. He seesthe content t TED s “biggerthn life, with overrching[topics], nd chllenges thtseem impossible.” But whenou put “different silos towork on one thing,” s hp-pens t TED, the impossiblestrts to look doble.While one hllmrk of TED gend is this cross-culturl, cross-disciplinr,cross-pollinted mshup ofrt, science, reserch, ndtheor, nother is its simpleformt. as the TEDx guide-lines put it: “No pnels. Nobrekout sessions. Usull:No podium. you m not pour spekers to present.”and there’s tht time limit—18minutes—which, more thnnthing else sends the mes-sge tht ou better hveour stor stright nd beble to deliver it efficientl.Wh not think bout ourentire meeting messge inthose terms? “We often gettied up in complicted meet-ing objectives,” ss MrkSheron, executive vice pres-ident, enggement strtegies,t TBa Globl in New york.“TED’s mission is simple:Ides worth spreding. It’s sounderstndble. Tr to distillwht ou wnt our event todo. Don’t hve 10 objectives. you don’t hve to reduce it toone objective, but how boutthree?”In orgnizing theTEDxBsel events, Jnssengot to tht distilltion bnswering one question.“When we strted tlkingbout ides nd themes,ultimtel we sked, ‘Dowe know wht we rellcre bout?’ When ou findtht, when ou touch thosechords, tht’s the mgic.”
By Alison Hall
 
Think of our event s  show.Tht doesn’t men glitz—it mens rehersl. KrDeFris ws show director forTEDxSnDiego, which drew325 live nd more thn 27,000virtul ttendees in November2010. “There ws  consciousdecision to tret this s show, not just n event, ndtht cme through in the pro-duction qulit nd execution,”DeFris ss in  blog postbout her experience tht iswell worth reding. (Find it thttp://bit.l/howTEDx.) “Weput together  production stfftht included  show director,tech director, tlent reltionsmnger, stge mnger, ndpresenttion mnger, to nme few.” and DeFris drew fromher experience with TV wrdsshows to tke the gend out-line nd flow it into  minute-b-minute “show rundown.”The other thing requiredb  show, s opposed to meeting, is  complete techrehersl. “We strted off withour tech lod-in, then mrkedll our speker spots on stge,followed b our emcees run-ning their lines. Spekersbegn showing up in thefternoon, some running theirfull tlk, others just clickingthrough nd getting  feel forthe stge,” DeFris explins.The tem held  spekerorienttion to review theprotocol for hnding over thestge from emcee to spekernd vice vers, plus whtwould hppen if  spekerrn beond his or her llottedtime. (at 30 seconds over, theemcee ppers t the edge ofthe stge; t one minute over,the emcee pproches…)Thoroughl workingthrough this kind of detilhed of time is non-negotible for  successfulshow—nd should become just s routine for  corportemeeting. Respect our udi-ence nd the will rewrd oub prticipting full. “TEDpresenters re coched onspeking nd engging theudience,” Jnssen notes.“Prt of the mgic is howspekers re trined.”Mn executives reunwre of how de-motivtingtheir lckluster presenttionscn be for emploees. If ouhve trouble getting executivesto reherse, send them thevideo “Behind the TED Tlk,” inwhich two spekers— novicend  true str of TED, whosefirst TED tlk is one of themost viewed of ll time—pre-pre for their presenttions.and if ou’re still stuck withC-level egos, point out tht therehersl is not just for them,ss Mrk Sheron of TBaGlobl. “Execs m not relizetht everone who is mkingtht presenttion possible—prompters, sound gu, videogu, webcst gu—the ll needto reherse the speech, too.”Finll, look for hiddengems in our own bckrd.“Do some reserch on ourinternl tlent pool,” suggestsDeFris, who is now orgnizingTEDxIntuit, plnned for august.“I’ve used emploees who doTostmsters or prticiptein locl theter s emcees tlrger meetings.”
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MEETINGSNET
.COM
May 2011
/CORPORATEMEETINGS&INCENTIVES
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PlAy wiTh dEsign
If there’s one prerequisite for TED ttendnce, it’s n open mind.Corporte meeting plnners could open their minds to the importnceof meeting design, believes Dinne Devitt, CMP, owner of DND Group,New york. “you cn’t tke room setup lightl,” she ss. “Décor givespermission to forget the outside world. The gol is to cpture people,llowing them to focus so ou cn send our messge.”Devitt recentl helped to design the room setup for  meeting ofthe Westfield (Ct.) chpter of Meeting Professionls Interntionl.Working with furniture sponsor CORT, she trnsformed “ long, rect-ngulr, brown hotel meeting room” into something “unexpected.”The front of the room contined “pods” of csul furniture includingsofs round smll tbles. In the middle ws trditionl theter-stleseting—using designer chirs. and t the bck, she set rectngulrnd tringulr Lucite tbles nd chirs. “People cme to  ded stop,”Devitt reclls. “you could see them clculting wht mood the were innd where the wnted to sit. It ws  ver interesting dnmic. Theirsenses were heightened. We surprised nd stimulted them.”No furniture sponsor? you cn mke n impct in smll ws. Tr theter-stle setup but plce the chirs in  crescent shpe rtherthn  stright line, Devitt suggests. “Or just dd  couple of sofs. Itsoftens the room nd mkes people more t ese. Or put six-foot tblet the bck, set t ngle. Even if don’t hve  budget, ou cn be cre-tive with wht ou hve. Look t things differentl.”and present differentl, dds Mrk Sheron, executive vice presi-dent, enggement strtegies, for TBa Globl. “as soon s PowerPointpops up, people switch off. We re doing  lot more with other contentsstems such s Montge nd Pndor’s Box.” He lso notes the wide-screen stge setup s  continuing trend. “It signls  chnge. It’s notthe stndrd setup,” he ss, dding tht “cost hs come down in theproduction relm, so these things re doble for more groups.”
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