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tennis coach told me I could transform my tennis experience if I would hit
the ball on the "sweet spot." If I did, my return would be strong,
straight, and true. It would take my play to the next level.
Hitting the "sweet spot" is a true principle for meeting planners as well.
Entertainment. To be entertained is to be passively absorbed
(absorption means the experience goes into the mind) in the experience
through your senses. You are entertained when viewing a performance,
listening to music or laughing with a humorist. Your attention is grabbed
and your mind "absorbs" the experience.
Education. To be educated is to be actively absorbed in an
experience. Education requires participation by the learner. The mind and
body are vigorously engaged in assessing information, making mental
connections, and taking notes. The learner experiences an increase in
knowledge or skills.
Esthetic. In an esthetic experience,
you are passively immersed (immersion is becoming physically or virtually a
part of the experience itself) in the experience. You "go into the
event" but have little or no effect on it. Esthetic experiences include
standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon, viewing art or visiting a museum.
You are content to just be there.
Escapist. In an escapist experience you are actively immersed in
the experience as a participant. Theme parks, casinos, virtual reality
headsets, and chat rooms all qualify as escapist activities. You in some way
affect the actual performance.
richest meeting experiences encompass aspects of all four realms.
Entertainment and education are very familiar. Both have been essential for
meetings since meetings began. To produce an exceptional meeting, blur the
lines of the realms. Explore how to offer increased, in-depth, timely and
fresh education that is meshed with entertainment. If you do this, guests
will find learning (the primary reason corporations pay for conference
registrations) fun and enjoyable.
take your meetings to the next level, the experience economy level, engage
your guests with an esthetic atmosphere that causes awe and anticipation the
minute they enter the meeting space. Do this with a strong theme carried out
in decorations, color, motion and sound.
instance, have you had a Forest Gump party with gourmet shrimp dishes? Or
tried a nostalgia theme? Baby boomers have a good laugh at an environment
decorated like the homes of the 50's and 60's with Formica dinettes, harvest
gold appliances, TV centerpieces with rabbit-ear antennas, tubs of margarine
and Ed Sullivan look-alike entertainers.
your theme is set, think interactive! Help guests experience the escapist
realm. Panels and small discussions still work but are boring compared to
the same information presented as a game show. Get yourself a look-alike
Regis Philbin and test guest's knowledge of corporate history, products or
services with sweeping lights, dramatic drum rolls, and of course, the
question, "Is that your final answer?"
the ultimate "sweet spot" might be a Survivor Party. Hold it in a
scenic spot. Check off esthetic. Pack the contests with content the guests
need to learn. Check off education. Make them all participate. Check off
escapist. And entertainment? If they are not entertained with all of the
commotion, just send them back to the hotel.
you can combine the four realms of experience in the right way and find a
"sweet spot," guests will be engaged, not just entertained. They
will be transformed and better equipped to meet the every day challenges
they face. Their lives will be taken to the next level of performance.
The concepts of the experience economy have been adapted to many industries. To learn more about these concepts read "The Experience Economy" by Joseph B. Pine
Karla works with organizations that want to benefit from confident workers, synergistic dialogue and innovation. She is the president of People Skills International, Inc and can be reached at 1 770 923 0883 E-mail [email protected] or visit
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