The Most Creative Event I Have Ever Produced Was…

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What I Know, meeting planner confessions, creative events, creative meetings
What I Know

“A local MPI New Jersey Chapter Educational event featuring the keynote (TED) speaker, Kare Anderson. We were able to weave her topic of making your meeting more memorable into each aspect of the meeting. For example, we created white boards and asked attendees to post peer comments allowing for the mutual citing and recognition of one another. We also arranged the F&B to arrive in multiple sequences based on natural breaks in the topics. Lastly, Kare and the group took a walkabout throughout the hotel as she pointed out very specific ways that attendees could make their meetings more memorable with sounds, smells and sights to engage and inspire. The event’s message—that it isn’t just about your meeting room but how the whole experience, from the entrance to the hotel, the walk to the meeting room to the public spaces that affect the experience—was memorable because attendees were engaging in a hands-on experience with practical application of the information presented.”—Pam Wynne, HMCC, CMM, CMP, independent hospitality consultant

“An Amazing Race-themed conference for sales people [participating in] obstacle courses, teambuildings, and educational sessions and workshops. Our demographic was 20 to 40 year olds, so incorporating active activities that challenged mind and body were essential for learning retention.”—Johanna Belsuzarri, global marketing, PR & events consultant

“Incorporating active activities that challenged mind and body were essential for learning retention.”

“In a high-ceiling ballroom with stadium seating. Seats were individually molded and permanently affixed to portable, crescent stadium risers. The intent was teamwork, motivation and winning with the customer, so the lighting, dance team, music and presenter were executed to be like a college game day introduction and speech. Everyone had a great view and the break was affordable stadium snacks with the staff in referee shirts. Everyone was SO PUMPED!”—Cecile Mutch, GLP, GTP, senior director of corporate sales, Kellogg Company

“A final night gala in a property outside of Santa Fe, N.M. We were in the ballroom of the hotel with approximately 310 guests. The room was beautiful with unique table settings—a combination of round tables, square tables and some elevated to provide sight lines. The entertainment during dinner was a simple guitarist for background music. Once dessert was placed, a Kabuki drop revealed the Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra featuring Ottmar Liebert, a German guitarist with Spanish influence. While not known to all, he was familiar to many, so it had that celebrity element to it as well. After a set of songs, we pulled the air wall in the ballroom to reveal a completely new experience with a high-energy dance band. It was an incredible night that people still talk about.”—Michael S. Burke, CMP, director of conference & travel services, The Hanover Insurance Group

“An opening welcome event in Salt Lake City. The hotel had an outdoor ice rink, and we brought in former Olympic champion ice skaters to skate with our attendees under the moonlight, on top of a mountain with hot chocolate. There was great music and good food; it was lots of fun.”—John C. Touchette, VP of global meetings, events and trade shows, Raytheon

“The hotel had an outdoor ice rink, and we brought in former Olympic champion ice skaters to skate with our attendees under the moonlight.”

“A sunrise beach workout session called Dawn of a New Day. Attendees met on the beach in workout tops and hats provided as a room drop the night before as well as their own sporty-type bottoms. Then, they ’checked in’ their phones, shoes and room keys, so there would be no distractions and total freedom to get into the experience. Lined up facing the ocean, with a DJ spinning sounds, Christopher Vlaun, one half of the dynamic duo of V Art of Wellness, instructed each person to find their center by focusing on the horizon where the sea meets the sky. We then transitioned to a series of bootcamp-style exercises, breaking into smaller groups by ability and using the sand as the best natural resistance training out there. Tracie Vlaun then led the group through Aeroga (the mindfulness of yoga combined with enough movement to get your heart rate up and just the right amount of challenge). Everyone was greeted with a refreshing cold hand towel and a fruit smoothie shot to revive them as they made their way off the beach to breakfast. The takeaway: Exceptional performance requires more than just business acumen. Become aware of the elements that create and sustain your ability to be at the top of your game each day.”—Meghan Schilt, events manager, King & Spalding

“It included a Vatican experience complete with the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museum along with dinner in the Statue Room with music provided by the Vatican Choir.”—Shireen Moore, SVP, marketing, Creative Group Inc.

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