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Photo-www.domitrica.com

…THAT WE DON’T WANT BORING MEETINGS ANYMORE!

Wake up before it’s too late and start organising events in a fresh, creative way

This was the slogan of this year’s Conventa Crossover conference, which brought together over 150 meeting planners, project leaders, designers and marketing creatives. The list of speakers was the most impressive so far, the programme was the richest and promotion more intense than ever. I can confidently say that Crossover is no longer just a conference. It’s the leading regional festival for everyone involved in the meetings industry.

I was overcome with joy when positive responses from the public started rolling in. The great overall score from the participants shows that the event had left a strong impression on them. The event provided an exciting competition for the Conventa Best Event Award, pleasant networking and diverse programme formats. For the 5th edition, we want even more participants and people to know that great ideas are not free. There certainly was no lack of great ideas at this year’s Crossover.

For all those, who couldn’t make it to the event, I wrote down some ideas that left a strong impression on me. We hosted real event-industry superstars, who presented their visions of how our industry will develop in the future.

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1. Unleash your inner child
Children are the most creative up to the age of six, when their imagination has no limits. According to Yemi A.D. (Yemi Dele Akinyemi) from JAD Productions, unleashing the inner child is his secret formula to creating incredible events. “You have to impress participants with child-like curiosity, wit of thought, courage and inspiration,” he said. The problem is that our inner child is often hidden behind a tough shell formed by our upbringing, education and society. Nourishing our inner child is very important when it comes to event organisation and if we can accomplish that, results will be remarkable.

2. Always take care of introverted participants
Experts say that 30–50% of event participants are introverted. But how do you spot an introverted participant? Firstly, their behaviour is more cautious, they fear the unknown and don’t like too much networking in person. They are also quite shy. The main question is how to create a balanced programme that both introverts and extroverts will enjoy. Taking us into the complex world of introverted participants was Dutch expert dr. Juup Laarman-de Kanter. She explained what introverts like, what they are afraid of and most importantly, how to include them in the programme and what tools we can use.

3. If you don’t dream of reaching the stars, you’ll never be interested in rockets
The youngest star of the European meetings industry comes from Graz, where he was able to create an event from scratch, now filling regional newspapers. He’s none other than Thiemo Gillisen, the founder of Fifteen Seconds. His sincere and energetic presentation showed us why thinking outside of the box is so important. He taught us that youthful adventurousness can move mountains, but that you certainly need some help from experts in other fields like marketing, architecture and art.

4. We tailor events to the participants
Kim Myhre is definitely one of the most influential faces of the event scene. He runs MCI UK and MCI Experience and is a big believer in using design thinking when organising events. He presented his own event organisation methodology at Crossover, focused on the participant as a personality. His knowledge, experience and charisma made a big impression on me.

5. Events should keep our brand’s reputation in check
We always organise events with heaps of passion and dedication. We often forget that our responsibility is much wider, as we also have to keep the reputation of our brand in mind. Events can only strengthen the brand if all its segments align with the identity of
the brand. A lot more goes into building a trademark than just having a unified visual image. Taking us deep into the field of branding were two renowned Slovenian experts, dr. Andrej Pompe from Formitas BBDO Pleon and Uroš Goričan from ArnoldVuga.

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6. Influencer marketing actually works
Working with influencers is a hot topic across all industries and the event industry is no different. It’s also one of the most used and abused words in marketing. Mariska Kesteeloo, a pioneer in MICE influencer marketing gave us a very clear answer. Like it or not, influencers are a relevant communication channel. She told us how to incorporate them into our events and how they can help promote destinations. It’s clear that their services can not be applied to all industries, but the most important thing is knowing how to measure the efficiency of their marketing.

7. Think like an Event Sapiens
According to Stefan Kozak from the Slovakian agency, Creative Pro, allowing participants to meet face to face and meet with brands is key when creating events. This can not be recreated by any virtual tool. The key task of an event sapiens is to create and co-create relationships. His thinking about the connection between creativity and budgets was also really surprising. I think this sentence of his sums it up perfectly: “Good & Cheap won’t be Fast, Fast & Good won’t be Cheap and Cheap & Fast won’t be Good.”

8. From Wow to How
The event industry is finally saying goodbye to the mindset of only thinking about event logistics, giant stages, huge screens and counting on first impressions. Events are becoming the solution when it comes to strategic marketing. Successfully convincing us about how this works in practice was Claudia Kohler, VICE President of Vok Dams. Their Agile Event Management concept is a series of tools that will help us carry out events of the future. She emphasised that teamwork, trust and partner relationships are way more important than strictly following project methodology.

9. Every event needs a professional moderator
An event without a moderator is like a ship without a captain. Our excellent moderator Samme Allen, from the award-winning Masters in Moderation agency made sure everyone felt accepted and capable of making a change. She greatly contributed to the success of Crossover, providing a structured debate and boosting creativity. Samme is proof that professional moderation is way more than just reading scripts sent by the organisers. Hats off to her!

10. The more you learn, the better your events will be
Events are the building blocks of the meetings industry. We have to be very conscious of what we know and how things are going to develop in the future. It’s good to award the best and set quality standards for the industry. Crossover is growing into a serious platform, setting the standard in its field. In addition, the event has gained popularity because of its different and relaxed concept, which encourages interaction and allows you to tug at a speaker’s sleeve, ask them a question or even pitch them a good business idea.

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These were just some key outtakes from the event. All 30 speakers were seriously impressive and it’s hard to declare the best one. Crossover’s trademark is using event organisation techniques that put the participant and their needs at the forefront. Everything that we talked about at the event was actually tried and tested in practice. The event has become a good practice case in the field of innovative event formats and interactivity.

The 5th edition of Conventa Crossover will be taking place from 28 to 29 August 2020 in Cankarjev Dom, Ljubljana.