“Re-imagine yourself as the directorial, experience-creating superhero of tomorrow,” Jade Simmons, classical concert pianist and lauded transformational speaker, urged planners in this week’s Smart Chat Live! webinar session: “Planning with Purpose: How to position yourself for a powerful year.”

“Connection is more important than ever before—it’s…vital,” Simmons said. The contingency requirements of facilitating that connection can feel immense, she acknowledged. “But within you is the power to create, to build something that’s going to be life-altering for the people who encounter it. People are looking to you now.”

For the full discussion on purposeful planning, listen on demand.

Following are some of Simmons tips for determining individual purpose and using that self-reflective knowledge to create powerful event experiences. The focus? Renewal, reframing, futureproofing and fostering better collaboration.

Let’s Talk Purpose—Your Purpose

Purpose … is not the thing you do,” Simmons began. “That’s not your purpose; that’s your title. Your purpose is the thing that happens in other people when you do what you do.” The experiences you’re able to build through the event you organized—“that’s your break-out effect,” Simmons said.

Whether it’s activation in others, listening in a way people long to be listened to or seeing through the complicated and chaotic to simplify an issue, purpose is “cross-relational.” Simmons explained that being aware of your purpose allows you to take your whole self everywhere you go, rather than compartmentalizing your life into home, work, events, etc. “It’s safe to take all of who you are to all of the spaces you belong to,” Simmons stated.

Once that purpose is pinpointed, renewing belief in events and their capacity for transformation in your attendees, your team and yourself as events return is a natural next step. Audiences may be smaller now, but that trend could be an opportunity for planners to deliver value in new ways.

“Instead of putting out fires,” Simmons said, “you’re creating the fires that stoke the imaginations of the people attending the experiences you create.”

Driving the Message Home

As meeting professionals are confronted by new questions and new tech in a new year, surrounded by growing health and safety contingencies, how do we anticipate the trends, find the gaps and develop solutions? It’s time to deliver those “post-pandemic” plans in a climate where most are not entirely sure what that means or whether we should be waiting around for it.

Simmons offered three “metrics” for success that contest the idea that meeting traditional event goals and completing the assignment are top Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

First tip: engagement is everything. Insights and industry trends are going to inform engagement. Your unique ability to have an effect on the people you serve is your directorial superpower in action. That is how you deliver value. You need to be able to show how your leadership changes people who are in the room.

Everyone wins when audiences walk away feeling compelled to and capable of doing something differently. In other words, did your event inspire encouragement and action? That is the measure of true performance.

“Profit for us is much bigger than just the monetary manifestation of profit,” Simmons said. Meeting your goals and finishing the assignment are big, important aspects of your role, but “purpose is the ultimate KPI”. Your attendees should leave feeling fulfilled with purpose.

You, planners, “are the foundation of a successful experience.”