Gail Rae Conference Design

Get Vision

January 05, 2007

By Gail Rae

If seeing is believing, vision enhances conference value. So, consider a creative visioning session, starting with the most effective meeting you can imagine; motivating, energizing, and offering long term support for everyday issues. Consider all aspects of development:
• Cognitive
   o New knowledge
   o Integrate new knowledge with old, or current practices
   o Overcome obstacles, reassess priorities, collaborate
• Emotional
   o Attitudinal change, energy support
• Spiritual
   o Develop, confirm, change belief systems
• Behavioral (Skills and Actions)
   o Implementation – application to work or vocation
• Social

There is usually some of each aspect of development that needs to be addressed to effect change. Be thorough and you will be amazed at how effective you can be.

Method + Content = Results

January 03, 2007

By Gail Rae

Content and method are not only intertwined; they are inseparable. Information requires some form of media. But content must be defined prior to determining the best method for its presentation. For example, at a recent conference, the sponsors wanted to teach their audience about the importance of nutrition in the treatment of a disease. But when questioned, the real issue was not that their audience lacked information, but that they needed to develop and practice arguments to advocate for more funding. Form follows function; method follows objective. If you want to achieve your objectives:

• Define the content
• Identify appropriate methods
• Reframe the content more specifically
• Select methodologies that support the learning objectives

Plan to engage both the left and right brain; use pictures instead of words, music, poetry, dance, and symbolic activities. The right methods produce the desired results.

The New Conference Choreography

January 02, 2007

By Gail Rae

Remember the days when conference planners feared the introduction of teleconferencing, and then video-teleconferencing? Well, our former competition has become our new friends and has helped us to turn a corner in conference design. The easy accessibility of information transfer allows conference designers to increase the focus on stimulating the creative energy that can happen when people come face-to-face. No longer in the business of information downloads, conference designers can begin where technology-based forms of information transfer leave off. Using high involvement methods, targeted skills practice, networked conversations, and facilitated problem-solving methods, participants and their sponsors get to participate fully in a high involvement learning opportunity that is great value for money. This keeps conferences focused on what they’re good for – getting people together in intensely focused, highly engaging environments!

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