14 Personal Highlights from EventCamp East Coast
What do I find myself talking about from the Event Camp East Coast experience? The event was just conducted in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania (the Philadelphia area) on November 12th and 13th. Here are the stories or impressions I’ve reflected on and/or mentioned to friends and associates over the past few days.
- First, I was thrilled to get a signed copy of Adrian Segar’s “Conferences that Work” in the bag I received at registration.
- Adrian Segar (@ASegar) labeled it a “structured unconference”. The idea was that we didn’t know what the agenda would hold but we would by the end of the day.
- We went around the room (about 45 of us) and each took 2 ½ minutes to introduce ourselves, relate what we were looking for from the weekend, and to tell what experiences and expertise we brought to EventCamp.
- I was impressed by two items: 1). the geographical diversity in the room. Since the unconference was named EventCamp East Coast, I expected participants to be from DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and New York. We certainly had those, but we also had representation from far away and exotic lands called Illinois, Minnesota, Washington, California, Ontario, and Quebec. 2). the wealth and diversity of experience represented in the room. We had participants with extensive conference and event experience, but we also had many from associations and non-profits, developers of technology, journalists, etc.
- The Friday evening social hour was held at the home of ECEC participant and nearby resident Beth Brodovsky (@bethbrodovsky). How many conferences have you been to where a reception was held at the home of someone? My answer: zero.
- This wasn’t completely time off, however. No, this was to be a working reception. This time was divided into three parts. Round one: What were we interested in learning about? We wrote down session ideas on pieces of paper on tables in the center of a room. Round two: Now that ideas were on paper, what were the interest levels? Participants walked around the tables, putting their names on the sheets with a 3 for great interest, 2 for moderate interest, and a 1 for slight interest. There were also letters to indicate willingness to serve as a Facilitator (F), someone with Experience (E), and/or a Panelist (P). Round three: a committee sorted through all these papers and sign-ups, eliminating those with little interest, combining some with similar topics, developing a schedule with four time slots and 13 sessions on Saturday, and assigning facilitators to those sessions.
- On Saturday morning I went down for breakfast at the Hampton Inn to find a schedule for the day, including the fact that I was to co-facilitate a session on Social Media 101 with Jenise Fryatt (@JeniseFryatt). In this session it was interesting to see the lights go on for our participants as we spotlighted the features and power of Twitter.
- Mitchell Beer’s (@mitchellbeer) session on “Repackaging Conference Content” really got my wheels going as we discussed the before-during-and-after of events, particularly with regard to how information from the conference can be disseminated to attendees, potential attendees, and potential members of that professional community.
- My favorite session of the day was on the use of improv in business, led by Jenise Fryatt. It was fun, engaging, and educational. I’m definitely going to use exercises like “8 Shakes”, “Red Ball, Blue Ball, Yellow Ball”, “Zip Zap Zop”, and “Rants” with other groups that I’m a part of.
- The fourth and final breakout session of the day was on the integration of mobile and web technologies at events. Sam Smith (@samueljsmith) really knows his stuff, and we touched on a number of technologies and trends in the events space. Specific topics included registration and lead retrieval technologies.
- The wrap-up session included a “fish bowl” with Adrian Segar. We had an outer circle where all participants sat, and an inner circle with five chairs. Adrian occupied one of the seats. The other four seats were for those who wanted to say something in a discussion regarding #eventprofs. I found this time to be focused, deliberate, and filled with a reverential air as participants had to make a decision about whether they would contribute to the dialogue. It was interesting to watch as others made their way to the center. I was attentive as I anticipated what would be said and by whom. I also watched carefully to see who was coming to or leaving the “fish bowl”.
- At the end of the day, I was thrilled and honored to be selected for the Grosh Backdrops scholarship to attend the Event Camp in Chicago in February 2011. Many thanks to Grosh Backdrops (@GroshBackdrops) and Lindsay Fultz (@LindsayFultz) for making this possible.
- I had so many great and insightful discussions over the weekend- too many to go into detail about- with the likes of Beth Brodovsky, Traci Browne (@tracibrowne), Paige Buck (@paigeali), Suzanne Carawan (@suzannecarawan), Cassie Clancy (@MRIS_Cassie), Jill Drury (@jtdrury), Jenise Fryatt, Howard Givner (@hgivner), Ruth Gregg (@ruthgregg), KiKi L’Italien (@kikilitalien), Carolyn Ray (@carolyn_ray), Adrian Segar, Sam Smith (@samueljsmith), Heidi Thorne (@heidithorne) and others. All, I appreciate your time, direction, and ideas.
- Many thanks to the ECEC organizers for their vision and hard work to help create a powerful and memorable experience: Traci Browne, Lindsey Rosenthal (@eventsforgood), and Adrian Segar.