Switch It Up: New Event Formats for SMW NYC

Who doesn’t like a good idea? With our initial schedule going live December 5th (it’s just around the corner!!), we’re expecting some amazing ideas coming out of SMW13! However, we don’t want any of your ideas to get lost in the shuffle. Even the best content can get buried if not highlighted properly. So, to help your idea stand out, we think a little change of format will help it shine. This week, we’ll sharing our tips to step out of the mold and switch up the traditional event.

1. Go fast.
Channel a little Speedracer. Rapid-fire presentations keep the audience engaged and on our toes. For example, PechaKucha 20×20 is a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for only 20 seconds. It was originally devised because most of us- talk too much. So, by using this format, you get the best in a short time frame. The best PechaKucha presentations are the ones that uncover the unexpected — unexpected talent, unexpected ideas. For example, this one on our irrational fears, like our fear of sharks.

2. Get secretive.
Speakeasies are popular for a reason. Sometimes a little mystery and intrigue are all it takes to pique our curiosity. Keep some details undisclosed and consider planning a few surprises throughout the event. Consider asking attendees for personal likes and dislikes and then build that into how you plan out the session. Or even release the event location the day before. Small things can create big experiences. A little secrecy can make your event different, personal and memorable.

3. Turn the event on its head.
We love collaboration. Consider having your speakers present the topic and have the crowd do more of the talking- or even give attendees homework before they arrive. Our friends at Econsultancy did this. Bringing in Lee Huang of Barnes and Noble, attendees were presented a brief and developed ideas for how Barnes & Noble could innovate. This put them at the center and gave them hands-on lessons about the challenges of innovating for a global company in a struggling industry. Involving the attendees in an interactive fashion is a sure-fire way to make the learning stick and make it more engaging.

4. Duke it out.
We all don’t need to agree. Debates are lively and insightful. Don’t believe me- just think of how many of us tuned in to all three of the presidential debates. Few things are black and white, so consider putting people with opposing views against each other. One of our favorite events, 7 Deadly Sins of Social Media, did this regarding hot-off the-presses results from their own survey. After the exchanges, let the audience decide who won. You’ll have plenty to talk about and it won’t be dull.

5. Draw on our wanderlust.
Who says an event has to be in ONE place? Put it on the subway, a bus, a walking tour or somewhere we haven’t even imagined yet! We’ve been jealous watching SMW Toronto and SMW Rome host an intensive, intimate rail event for special attendees. It’s time we brought that to NYC. Now, it’s just a matter of who decides the route. It’ll create an intimate atmosphere and and experience to make the event go well beyond the average.

6. Get creative.
These 5 ideas are just that- 5 suggestions. Don’t limit yourself to these formats or any other one for that matter. Ask yourself what you would love to sit through and experience, and then add it! But don’t wait too long- event submissions closes in just 6 weeks. It’ll be here in no time, and you can capitalize on getting your event the most visibility by submitting it now to be one of the first on our schedule!

We’re looking forward to seeing all the pieces come together for a great week with you.

Top image by Peter Gorges. Final photo by Joe Thomissen.