Lunchtime Links: Doodles and Other Event Ideas

How one startup brought an illustrator to a recent branding conference. Also: A list of events you should try to get to someday.

Let’s talk events. What will make yours memorable?

Will it be a novel idea that someone brings to the conference? Will it be the long lines and endless complaints on Twitter? Or will it be the worst thing of all: nothing?

Let’s make sure it’s not nothing. Take some event ideas from today’s Lunchtime Links:

Bring your doodles: We’ve already covered one of the interesting elements of 2012’s Pivot Conference — the Klout-based pricing — but one of the companies at the event did something pretty awesome: They hired an illustrator. The creators of the drawing app had illustrator Dan Meth draw highlights from the event, which is probably the most clever thing we’ve seen. Jay S. Daughtry of TMA Resources has other highlights from last week’s event. Think you could ever do something like this at your event?

The event gold standards: Julius Solaris of the Event Manager Blog has a pretty epic list of events that he says “you must attend before you die.” There are a number of obvious ones here — The Super Bowl, The Olympics, SXSW — but the under-the-radar ones are the ones we find most interesting. Solaris is, for example, bullish on the World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos: “If you manage to attend the WEF, you got my admiration,” he says. “Attendees have an incredible influence and are widely recognized as leaders in their field.” Any insights from this list you can bring to your own events?

Use social media, something I like, to save something I love. Makes for a good story, right?

Lessons from a bad experience: Social media blogger Shaun Hinklein didn’t have a lot of fun at New York Comic Con — the event was, in his opinion, poorly organized and extremely crowded. His suggestion, written on Social Media Today: Social media coordination — and interaction with fans — would have gone a long way to keep everything moving. “Look at their faces and their dedicated costumes. Try and imagine what you would like to have happen at New York Comic Con. Then imagine what they want,” Hinklein writes. “If it isn’t the same thing (and you can ask them using social media – people are doing that right now) then re-evaluate. Use social media, something I like, to save something I love. Makes for a good story, right?”

Conferences aren’t rituals: Conferences That Work author Adrian Segar says too many event planners treat conferences like weddings or other ritual-style events — and that’s a mistake, because the spectacle isn’t why people are there. “Some of the best conferences I’ve ever attended were held in ghastly, windowless, and anonymous hotel conference rooms,” he explained. “They weren’t memorable because of the environment (except in a negative sense); they were memorable because their process led to intense interaction, powerful learning, and a ton of fun.” He argues that by getting away from the spectacle, you open up opportunities to change the format.

What efforts have you made to stretch out from the traditional? Let us know in the comments.

(Images by Dan Meth for

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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