How to kick up the empathy and excitement-quotient at events

Smart Meetings Extraordinary Texas Event at Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa in Austin brought leadership strategies, technology innovations, experiential gifting and fun F&B ideas from the award-winning magazine to life for three days and we are sharing the aha moments with you.

Lead with Understanding: Coach and speaker Vera Jones shared the secrets for empathetic leadership. Just as passing a ball isn’t successful if the person doesn’t catch it, telling a person something isn’t communicating unless the person can understand it. Whether you are giving instructions to a team member during the pre-con or sharing know-before-you-go updates with attendees, understanding their motivation and communication styles will help you be heard. “Empathy is our superpower,” she said. “Use it to love them and lead them.”

Be an AV Evangelist: Animatic Media founder Scott Frankel advised planners to “change your mindset and question how audio-visual is done.” Many meeting professionals see AV as something painful that has to get done, but by engaging and asking the production team questions with genuine curiosity, you can often find ways to create more impactful programs without spending a lot more money. “Lighting is still the fastest way to change up the look of a room quickly and cost-effectively,” he said. “Too many events look the same, why not turn the monitor literally on its side? Mix it up,” he encouraged. His list of trends that have increased in quality while decreasing in price include:

    • Holographic video (now trending for concerts and keynotes)
    • Video mapping to make a room come to life (a little creativity can transform a space)
    • Social media mosaics of selfies and/or chat on stage screens
    • Augmented reality for trade show booths to add engagement
    • Semi-transparent screens for projecting video (lightweight and reusable)
    • 3D projections
    • AI to help personalize, but the sky is the limit on that one.

Plan Sustainable Gifting Experiences: As anxious as we all are, no one needs another stress ball. That is why Smart Meetings introduced the Gifting Lounge last year to let attendees decide for themselves what calls to their hearts. Quality brands such as Citizen Watch America and Halo Branded Solutions merchandise partnered with Smart Meetings to invite guests into a shopping experience at registration that is more earth-friendly than a cookie-cutter swag bag.

Thank you to our fabulous sponsor-partners for bringing the wow. @OmniBartonCreek @VisitAustinTX @Accessdmc @EssBodyWear @joycoastdesigns #Meetsmart

Nourish Your Partners: When you meet at four-star Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa, meals are more than a commodity; they are an opportunity for surprise and delight moments. From delicate halibut with fennel slaw to a down-home cookout with barbecued brisket and corn salsa, food and beverage truly brings people together. Omni Barton Creek also happens to have an artist as a pastry chef so a chocolate shell that looks every bit like a lemon with a tart custard center or a creamy dessert that could act as a body double for a grilled peach slice is a treat for the eyes and taste buds.

Register for an upcoming Extraordinary Experience here.

Smart Meetings founder Marin Bright pioneered the hosted-buyer concept 13 years ago and is always looking for ways to raise the bar. “I knew that when I brought top meeting professionals together, magic would happen,” she said. Texas proved to be fertile ground for the concept once again.