FICP event education is focused on offering robust learning experiences to attendees. But, there is a second, underlying goal unique to meetings professional organizations: FICP is here to be your test kitchen. Let us try out new session formats, speakers learning and networking activities, and trending technologies before you tackle them at your own meetings and events. Sometimes they are hits and our members have new go-to ideas to incorporate. Sometimes they miss the mark, and that’s okay too. This just means you’ll have greater success if you try it out yourself, or you’ll know what to avoid! Here are just a handful of FICP education efforts over the last few years:
Unique Speakers and Experiences
FICP’s keynote line-ups are typically a who’s who of the speaking circuit, but we also aim to expose our audiences to fresh voices, business leaders and storytellers. I have learned from working with event teams and education committees that a good story is Step 1, but a speech with relevant takeaways is a necessary Step 2. FICP has created personalized interactive opportunities with our keynote speakers ranging from personality testing with Sally Hogshead at the 2015 Annual Conference to the memory-training games Robb Zbierski put us through at the recent 2017 Education Forum.
Making an Old Format New Again
There’s still a place for panels in FICP education – it’s a great way to have a diverse discussion among members and hospitality partners, or other subject matter experts, without putting too much work on just one presenter. That said, we knew there had to be more opportunity with this format than a moderator firing off pre-selected questions and answers.
The best advice when organizing a panel discussion is to first have a prep call with all of the players. Brainstorm format ideas together versus telling them how the session will operate. This is also a great opportunity to get everyone on the same page, and discover individual expertise and interest areas. A great way to mix up a panel discussion is to treat it like a game show and re-name your moderator and panelists “host” and “contestants”: create Jeopardy-style questions, a Dating Game scenario, or even a simple “Spin the Wheel” animation that lends a bit of surprise to the session.
Called to Order
FICP took a risk in 2015 by adding a new session format called “Mock Trial.” Working closely with education committee volunteers, we devised a fun way to present the rather serious topic of ethics. A cast of characters formed around the plaintiff and defendant including lawyers, witnesses and a judge in the form of industry lawyer Jonathan Howe.
After many hours of planning meetings, scripting and direction, the acting chops from the FICP membership and HP community cannot be denied! Feedback from the 2015 event led to a more streamlined and thoughtful approach in 2016 that focused on the teachable areas versus just the laughs. This resulted in a whopping 4.9 out of 5 overall evaluation of the session that focused on force majeure in today’s world of Zika outbreaks, terror threats, and travel bans.
Interactive education is on the rise. Gone are the days of a program solely focused on listening to a lecturer for hours on end. FICP’s foray into this has included polling during sessions to get quick snapshot data, second screen technology to bring you closer to the content, and even live streaming keynote presentations for those that couldn’t make it to the conference.
Idea Exchange sessions have proved popular – opportunities for members and hospitality partners to ask questions and share concepts around hot topics. FICP has also featured graphic facilitators at a number of events to capture content to later share with the full membership and HP community post-event. Stay tuned for the 2017 Annual Conference for the next wave of graphic facilitation that replaces the large white poster board and markers with a stylus and digital wall!
If you’ve booked a speaker you saw at an FICP event, or if you tried out a format at your own meeting I would love to hear about it and work with you to tell the story. You can reach me here.
Education Senior Manager