How to organise meetings that Rock

Countless stories are associated with rock bands. Old Masters say that all rock music has its origins in blues. And when there is blues there are as well women, drink, passion, madness. It’s the stuff rockers draw inspiration from, stories make their work immortal, and then they become myths.

Good music is at least for me associated with good stories. When I am explaining to my children on the threshold of their adolescence, what to me is good music, it is always associated with good lyrics that are intelligent and above all experienced. Critical, lucid and poetic at the same time. A key role in this respect has the heart. The easiest way to illustrate it to them is through storytelling. On the one hand, the listener, on the second the story, and the narrator, without disturbing noises and gadgets. This is the most genuine testing of the quality of the story.

Conference organisers have a responsibility to give our clients and participants a good story. We need to constantly educate the audience and offer it surpluses. Meetings stories are by their nature more urban, contemporary and rock. Looking at the scale of the top convention destinations, this is clear. ‘Urbanopolises’ only, from which also the majority of our congress participants come. Unfortunately, such stories are too often overheard at the expense of stereotypical pop culture which due to media pressure also prevails among meetings people. An interesting comparison is born between the music and the meetings industry. As soon as we start talking about the industry, it seems that the good stories abound. In reality, in both industries there are only a few or even too little. Think about how stupid lyrics you’ve heard in recent times and how many average barely entertaining events you have attended as participants.

I believe that storytelling is the most effective communication mechanism to establish rapport with the event participants, as it remains as such in their memory. It is a fact, that storytelling is a necessary and at the same time efficient method by which you can attract participants, connect with them and start building a long term relationship. However, it is necessary to  use all available channels. If you do not believe me, then check out this year’s International Advertising Festival in Cannes, where content marketing was at the top of the agenda, and events were the main tools of the winning agencies.

When your event becomes a synonym for a good story, this means easier and faster identification and the event becomes contagious. In this area, there are several challenges that need to be considered. In the first place you have to check whether the story has enough relevance to your target audience. The target group should be familiar with the story, but this requires a lot of hard work and investment so that all the needs of the target group are really well understood. The highest priority have the ones that have recognised this some time ago and now manage their own channels of communication through which they launch their own stories.

In practice we can sum up a few tips to successfully create stories about events. In the first place a good story has to be credible, but it must also be applied. Absolutely not sensational. Through good content congress participants get to interact and co-create the events or the reality of the event. And this is the essence of today’s story. Whatever congress organisers like to pretend and imagine, your story will be co-created by the participants. The complete communication, technology and organisation of contemporary events must be subordinated to this. We should be aware that we cannot sell anything to participants on the stock. Especially in the creation of convention stories patience is God’s grease.


This time a little different story, created by the legendary agency New Moments from Skopje, which deals with the tolerance between different religions. The campaign is based on the event, inspired by the story from a remote religiously tolerant church on the outskirts of Macedonia. In the only church in the village gather and pray both the Muslims and Orthodox Christians. The story was the inspiration for the campaign by the Government of the Republic of Macedonia into which the Agency New Moments was also drown.

With the campaign the agency has won great recognition – a Titanium Lion at the biggest festival of creativity in Cannes. This is the highest award for the Balkan creativity in the history of the Festival of which the founder of the agency Dragan Sakan would certainly be very proud.



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A long-time meetings industry addict, Gorazd is the Founder and owner of marketing and event agency Toleranca Marketing. He has many years of experience in planning, preparing and carrying out large international meetings and exhibitions. As the founder of the "Power to the Meetings" methodology, he still firmly believes in the power of live events and human to human communication. He is also the author of numerous articles and editor-in-chief of the meetings industry magazine Kongres Magazine.