By: Michelle Joyce
I remember the day I got the phone call from Julie Ho at PMI (Project Management Institute). “I have an idea for our 2018 Global Conference,” she said. And what followed was pure event magic.
PMI Global Conference is part of a week-long celebration, bringing together thousands of project and program managers, chapter leaders, and business professionals from around the world to share knowledge, strengthen community, and lead the evolution of the profession. More than 4,000 people attend the conference. Julie explained that creativity as a skill is a gap for many of us, and she wanted to provide an opportunity to encourage her audience to find their inner creativity in a time of change.
Julie’s genius idea? Go all in on the topics of creativity and innovation, and create a cutting-edge presentation style at their October event. And our keynote speaker Scott Shellstrom was the person for the job!
Here’s how Julie explained her vision:
For one of the main sessions, the room would be divided and there will be two catwalks on either side of the space. On one side of the room, keynote speaker Bill Stainton will speak on how to overcome the fear of change, and on the other side – AT THE EXACT SAME TIME – our speaker Scott Shellstrom will speak on how to unleash creativity and innovate. Both speakers would be presenting at the same time, while the audience (500 on each side) will be listening respectively via headsets! The entire audience of 1,000 would be in the same room, and everyone would be able to see both speakers, but only hear the one on their side.
The idea was for Bill and Scott to speak for one hour, then take a quick break, and then repeat their program to the other side of the room.
The result? Well, apparently it pays to think big and take risks – because the program was a creative, innovative, and engaging success.
We asked Scott to share a few of his behind-the-scenes experiences from this one-of-a-kind event:
How did you prepare for such a unique event?
SCOTT: Everyone involved was onboard to make it an experience that would ignite attendees to challenge their own fears of change and embrace innovation – so we all worked together as a team to make it happen. Julie, Bill, the AV production team, emcee Stephen Maye, and I had several conference calls in advance of the event.
Hours before the event, we all met with the production team onsite to make sure everything was working. There would be no sound in the auditorium – since audience members would all be listening through earbuds. This meant I would need earbuds myself to make my presentation work. The production team pulled it off without a hitch.
What was it like speaking next to another speaker at the same time?
SCOTT: It was definitely a unique experience! As a presenter, I had to overcome the distraction of another speaker performing right next to me, hearing and seeing his audience react [to him], and then seeing and hearing my audience react [to me] at different intervals. It reminded me of going to the three-ring circus as a child – switching my attention from the lion cage in the first ring to the elephants in the second ring, and then to the clowns in the third ring. This wasn’t much different. And it worked!
What was your greatest take away?
SCOTT: The imagination and risk adversity of Julie, the positive teamwork of Bill, and the incredible ability of the production team pulled off an event on innovation so innovative that I was truly honored to be a part of it. The biggest lesson for everyone here is to minimize fear, trust the talented people around you, and go for it!
To bring Scott Shellstrom’s programs on creativity and innovation to your next event, contact us HERE.