I don’t like to figure out movies while I watch them. Not only does it bother me when other people ruin it for me, but I hate when I discover the plot too soon.
There’s something about that revelation at the end of a tangled spider’s web when I discover the creator knew what he was doing from the beginning but made me think he was winging it the whole time.
What impresses me is the strategy it takes to pull off these wow moments. The Pixar Theory suggests each movie exists in the same universe and that the geniuses behind the company are even more innovative than each movie suggests on its own. TV shows take us on 10-season journeys only to realize that hints along the way make the ending possible. Creativity explodes when boundaries, structure and planning are developed—sometimes decades in advance.
Yogi Berra says it best: “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.” Improvisation is necessary along the way, but the key to blowing attendees’ minds is determining your end result and then figuring out how to get there, even if it is along the way.
Take your attendees on a similar journey and impress them with the result by aligning every decision with your desired outcome.
Should you spend money on a prominent speaker? If the ultimate goal is attendance, sure; but if your goal is to deliver content that leads to change, maybe the expert without the name recognition better serves your purpose.
What color should your napkins be? If using your organization’s resources most effectively is a desired outcome, go with white, but if every touch point means driving home a brand emotion to your attendees, custom napkins might be worth the price.
How do you ensure every detail and fork in the road accounts for your desired outcome? Do you remind your team, leaders and vendors of your purpose regularly?