If Leonardo da Vinci Were an Event Planner

Take event planning cues from an architectural design master

In 1489, Duke Giovanni Galeazzo and Isabella of Aragon exchanged wedding vows with “heaven” in the background. Or rather, it was one architect’s otherworldly interpretation of heaven: a spectacular display of planets that each opened to reveal a person, dressed as a deity, who then recited a poem to bless the newlyweds. 

Can you guess who crafted such a genius piece of design? (Hint: His name is not synonymous with event planning.) 

The wedding was choreographed by the Renaissance painter, scientist, engineer and mathematician Leonardo da Vinci. In his bestseller How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, Michael J. Gelb encourages readers to uncover their own hidden talents by drawing on the seven traits of the master himself. 

Here, we outline how those traits can be applied to your job as an event planner.  

“Curiosità”: Stay Curious 

In life, most people accept things as they are. Those who don’t fall into this trap have the power to create the extraordinary, as the JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul did in the photo above. 

As Gelb writes, curiosity can lead to remarkable things. To start, challenge yourself with out-of-the-box questions such as “What if I completely change the event’s décor?” or “What if I don’t decorate at all?”

Don’t stop at these questions alone. Stay hungry for continuous learning. 

“Dimostrazione”: Reflect 

Try to continuously reflect on what worked (and what didn’t) in your past events, as the JW Marriott Hotel New Delhi Aerocity is doing here. Get feedback from your attendees via surveys and emails. Above all, keep expanding a pool of knowledge to create your own do’s and don’ts for planning an event. 

“Sensazione”: Provide Sensory Delight

Always aim to elicit multisensory delight with your menu. Is the smell mouthwatering? Does the entrée appear so delicious that it would be impossible to resist? Does the taste transport you to the region it originated from? If not, don’t be afraid to start over or make necessary tweaks to make the dishes perfect. Take cues from this Live Chef Station at the JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong.  

“Sfumato”: Accept Uncertainty 

In the world of event planning, uncertainty is often the only certainty. When you come up with an idea that has never been executed before (similar to the oversized decoration seen here at the Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen's Park), there is more inherent risk, and the final outcome is often out of your control. Yet as Gelb’s book emphasizes, taking these types of chances is the only way to reap major rewards. 

“Arte/Scienza”: Logistics Meets Creativity

Considered a whole-brain thinker, Leonardo excelled at both logistics and creativity. While a strong imagination will help you come up with quirky names for cocktails, logic will help you determine which ones are the best match for your Ideate, Decide, Celebrate, Network or Purpose event. Find the best balance between both halves of your brain, as the China Hotel, A Marriott Hotel, Guangzhou did in the photo above. 

Corporalita: Exercise the Body

Planning an event is hard work, both mentally and physically––both of which you’ll need to account for. Try to take part in some form of aerobic exercise on a daily basis to help drive more oxygen to your brain and, in return, produce higher-quality ideas. The Sanya Marriott Yalong Bay Resort & Spa organized a relaxing, all-attendee yoga session, for example.   

Connessione: Realize the Big Picture 

Getting just one aspect of your event right isn’t enough to make the whole thing a success. Do your best to deliver a holistic experience that delights, enthralls and entices, like the display above from the JW Marriott Hotel Macau exemplifies?. Although your heart might be set on a single design idea (like an all-pink backdrop, for example), does that really translate to your team’s end goals?  

Experts like Leonardo da Vinci can teach us a lot about event planning, and we want to hear your own tips! Use #MeetingsImagined and share some of your own inspiring experiences with us. 

Inspired to plan your next meeting? Visit http://www.marriottmeeting.com/triple-choice/ today and get triple the rewards for booking your meeting with us!