ISES Eventworld 2011 opened today in St. Louis with high-level sessions addressing both high-tech and enduring approaches to producing excellent special events.
At the Opening General Session, held at the St. Louis Union Station Marriott, the act 3 Painters kicked off the event with a dynamic mix of music ranging from Queen to David Bowie to John Lennon while simultaneously creating images of music icons.
After being introduced by ISES International president Heather Henderson,CSEP, 360 Live Media president Don Neal presented a lively session underscoring the power of live events.
Neal reminded attendees that 90 percent of all communication is nonverbal, and that live, branded media experiences have a unique power to change behavior.
Underscoring the importance of behavior, "We are what we do," Neal said, not what we say or think.
Neal urged attendees to measure the value of their events using a formula that determines value by dividing the quality of an event by its price.
Next, Angie Smith, vice president of client services at InXpo, addressed "Demystifying Virtual Events."
Formerly with Cisco Systems, Smith described her extensive experience creating hybrid events for the company.
Although many event planners feel pressured to add elements such as video streaming to their events, "Don't do it just to do it," Smith said. Instead, "Give people a choice" of whether to attend the event in person or experience it online.
Using hybrid events, which offered both in-person and online options, Smith said she was able to increase participation at her events by 30 percent while reducing the cost per participant by more than 90 percent.
The day ended with the Welcome and ISES 25th Anniversary Kick-off Party at the City Museum.
Tomorrow's events include the annual general meeting, education sessions and SEARCH fundraiser.
Photos and video by Special Events.