Clever Carly’s Next Hot Topic: Unpacking the Content Safari

The newest trend in event planning is a walk on the wild side

Hi there, Event Planners! Clever Carly here.

Listen—as “event people,” we do everything in our power to make work meetings not feel like, well, work. From full-scale lunches and live entertainment right down to a bowl of fruit at the table, we’re here to help people enjoy themselves a little and, in turn, be more engaged. Well that job, as you know, is only getting harder. With every consumer (your attendees included) digging their heels into their media habits with channels that go deep, go shallow and go every which way, we’re all getting more particular about how we digest information. And like it or not, that’s a reality that increasingly affects our job. 

Say hello to the content safari—a term that describes both the problem and the solution to our ever-pickier attention spans. On the surface, the idea behind it is simple: Just as we’re offered a number of ways to consume information online, attendees should also be offered options for receiving content. Sounds nice, right? It does—but its application can be a head-scratcher. 

The ways content safaris can manifest are infinite, but the key is giving attendees control to better curate their experiences. To do that, attendees need the chance to give feedback—think surveys before the event and options during it—from topics and modules to participating in the creation of the content itself. To really pull this off, venues ideally should be quickly adaptable and have “flex-to-fit” rooms for varying attendance at sessions. Maybe that tech module’s popularity took off in the morning and is overflowing by noon. Can you accommodate the new swell? 

It also means having more agile presentations and speakers, ready to deep-dive into alternative topics or switch up the way information is presented. Perhaps you notice that your attendees are, how shall we say … prone to interact, spirited. Why strain over the power struggle? Instead, twist that lecture into a discussion format. In times like these, venues with technology such as digital whiteboards and screen-sharing monitors will better your odds of successful transitions in content delivery. So add that to your Venue Questions List. (And of course, have your presenters test the technology before their presentations so it’s seamless.) And about that trending tech session—maybe your speaker can weave more of those tech topics into the general closing remarks at the day’s end.

What does all this get you, besides maybe a few gray hairs? Well, if you can pull it off, a profound sense of self-discovery among your attendees and, in turn, a stronger sense of ownership. Like tribalization and so many other trends today, content safaris are simply about being more receptive to your attendees in more ways. So start small. Baby steps are your friend—after all, it’s a jungle out there.

Check back in two weeks for more helpful tips. You can find me on meetingsimagined.com, and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Until then, happy planning! 

Always your guide, 

Clever Carly