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10 Terrific Things To Learn From TED

May 12, 2015

Technology, Entertain and Design (TED) had its 30th global conference this year in Whistler, BC with 800+ participants. As usual, it was a smashing success because its organizers are always looking for ways to improve; and this year was no exception.

Andrea Driessen, a noted contributor to The Meeting Professional, noted several ways they thoroughly immersed attendees in the TED experience. Today, I am highlighting 10 that I think any meeting planner can use at their next conference.

10 Noteworthy TED Practices

 

  1. Everyone Knows Your Name.

    The person’s name on their badge was viewable from distance, which is great but I would add one thing: The badges should be located on the right lapel or pinned on the right side of an attendee. It makes the name easy to read when shaking another’s hand.
     
  2. A Mini-Icebreaker was on the Badge.

    Underneath the name, each attendee had the following statement:
    “Talk to me about (their interest or job or city)”
    This was an easy way to start a conversation and keep it going throughout the conference.
     
  3. Meeting Rooms Were Closed Until Minutes Before the Speaker Started.

    This forced organic networking and buzz in the foyer and reception areas.

    When event planning, you can utilize video walls where attendees can gather around and see the Tweets of the Day and/or happenings throughout the conference.
     
  4. Varied Seating was a Hit.

    When the attendee entered the meeting room, they were not sure what style of seating was going to available to them – theater, rounds, living room or something in between.
     
  5. Coffee + Snacks = Networking Opportunities.

    Coffee stations were in the middle of the reception area making it conducive for attendees to gather around and chat.   
     
  6. Lunch Totes allowed Attendees to Launch.

    With a 3-day conference, such as TED’s, attendees like to decompress at times and having lunch totes allowed them to do so. They could go outside, back to their hotel room, sit in any space in the conference center or just have an impromptu meeting in the foyer.
     
  7. Feedback was gathered in Unusual Ways.

    Rather than relying exclusively on apps that run on Apple rentals, TED organizers provided an area with art supplies and a large white board to gather ideas from attendees as they waited for the next session to begin or at the end of the day.
     
  8. Learning Labs Allowed Attendees to Relax.

    This is where projector rentals displayed live TED talks on the ceiling and wall screens – thus allowing participants to even lay down if they were compelled to do so.

    Wireless Internet service can be set up here to allow attendees to do social postings, check emails or just browse the Internet.
     
  9. Curate Speaker Talks.

    By using YouTube, SlideShare or other social channels, be sure to curate your presenter’s talks and push their message on social, long after the conference is over.
     
  10. Make Room for Fun.

    TED Volunteers jumped on stage and described their first kiss, provided impromptu moments and encouraged laughter.
     

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