Friday, October 21, 2011

Convene On Site: PCMA Masters Series

Great conversations begin with great questions, and yesterday's PCMA Masters Series program at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., kicked off with 10 of them. Presenters Jeff Leitner and Bryan Campen cut right to the heart of the topic -- "The Bold New World of Convention Exhibits and Trade Shows." Leitner, founder and dean of Insight Labs, which "deconstruct[s] things for a living, and then we reconstruct them," told the more than 200 attendees: "This is a conversation about 2016, and the bad news is that no one knows what is coming in 2016. ... But we have to try, because your companies and clients all depend on you to have a sense of what's coming so you can help prepare them for it."

Why do we need to have this conversation? "To get people to realize that the future" is much closer than it used to be, said Campen, social media director for Manifest Digital, which is conducting the Future Meet project (co-sponsored by PCMA). "The future is actually crashing into us at this point."

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Pulling All The Triggers

Sally Hogshead
In Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation, brand consultant Sally Hogshead examines the meaning and mechanics of fascination, and offers seven ways for individuals and organizations to increase and improve upon their ability to get attention and keep it, as well as to influence others.
            Hogshead’s book is the result of multidisciplinary research, but fascination, it turns out, is as much art as science  — to be most effective, you have to know how and when to use the triggers. And it is generally best, Hogshead advises, not to use all the triggers at one time.
But there are exceptions, including when Hogshead is speaking and wants to prove her points. When I interviewed Hogshead for the November issue of Convene, she employed me how she uses all seven triggers when she speaks. It's also a sneak preview: Hogshead will speak Jan. 9 at Convening Leaders in San Diego.
1. Passion. “It is very important for the audience to feel that they are bonding with  me from the second I walk out on stage, I want them to feel like we are  we are doing this together.”
2. Trust: “As soon as I walk out there, [the audience] knows I am a leader in my field, they already know I have done a tremendous amount of research. Trust is not something I can build on stage, trust is something that can be built through experience and repeated exposure. I make sure that audience knows that everything I am saying is not  my opinion, but is backed up by research.”
<--!more-->3. Prestige: Every aspect of my keynote is polished to a perfect degree, my slides have all been developed by award-winning designers. I make sure that every piece of the experience, from the way I am introduced, to the way my  materials are handed out gives a very high-end experience for the audience.
4. Power. “When I speak, I am in command and control of what I am talking about . That helps {the audience] understand that this is a message that they absolutely need to hear — that this is urgent."
5. Alarm: "I used the alarm trigger to explain what happens if people don’t fascinate. I want them to really understand that it used to be okay to not fascinate ... but today there is too much competition. I use the alarm trigger to get people really plugged into the problem. I need them to be a bit uncomfortable hearing my speech, so I can give them the solution and so they understand that there is a lot at stake here."
6. Rebellion: "This trigger is one of my favorites. Rebellion is about creativity and surprise. While I am talking, I love to give the audience either a surprise or do something in a completely innovative way. I love walking out into the audience and asking people to join me on stage for an exercise  or challenging the audience in a way they didn’t expect … I love pushing the boundaries of how a speech would normally go."
Mystique: "When an audience is curious, they want to know more. I give them enough information to understand the insight. But I don’t want to spell everything out to the nth degree."
Find this fascinating? You're in luck: Hogshead is speaking on Jan. 9, 2012 at PCMA Convening Leaders.  You can also take "brand personality" test on Hogshead website to find out your our natural strengths and how to use them. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What's Green and 86 Stories Tall?

Photography by Daniel Schwen
One of New York City's most iconic buildings has now become one of its greenest: the 80-year-old Empire State Building has been awarded LEED-Gold for Existing Buildings certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

But it's also serving as a example for other large and drafty old buildings: the strategies used in the project, which will reduce the building's energy use by 38 percent and save $4.4 million in energy costs annually, have been published as an open-source model so that the results can be replicated in other buildings.

Although the project will reduce greenhouse gases, that wasn't the primary motivation of the building owners. With the help of the Clinton Climate Initiative, they put together an engineering dream team and set out to either prove or disprove the cost-effectiveness of energy retrofits, according to a white paper about the Empire State Building's sustainability program.

The results were definitive: The retrofit will pay back the costs of the project in just three years, making the Empire State Building one of the largest and splashiest examples around of the economic viability of sustainability, even for old buildings.

Information about the project, including the analytical model and specific money-saving projects can be found on the website,, created by another of the project partners, the Rocky Mountain Institute.

Wonder what convention center might be up for a similar project?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Extra, Extra!: Convene Newsstand

Surely most of you read a couple of weeks ago (either with horror or amusement — or more likely a mixture of both) about the now-infamous $16 muffin at a recent Justice Department meeting at the Capitol Hilton in Washington, D.C. Well, the ombudsman for the Washington Post, which brought the Justice Department inspector general's report that cited the costly pastry to the public's attention, recently revisited the issue, and determined that the reporting wasn't entirely accurate.

Patrick B. Pexton, the newspaper's ombudsman, writes: "[A]s a journalist, my instinct tells me that the muffin story was just a bit too good to be true."