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Takeaways from Meetovation – No more boring meetings!

Last Monday I hosted #EventPlannersTalk about the big industry debate – Experience vs. Academia. While all participants agreed that degree is not necessary to get a job in the events industry and experience is key, all agreed that some education about event management is necessary and that can be gained at trade shows, reading industry press, blogs, social media, association events and learning from each other. Having a BA in International Event Management from Regent’s University London I see the importance of education in event management. But, even though I obtained a degree I understand that the industry doesn’t stay still and further education will always be key to stay competitive in this fast paced industry.

After attending the MIND fam-trip last December in Copenhagen, I was offered to stay two more days for the Meetovation training course. It was the second time this training was offered to international planners and we were a mixed group of participants from Germany, Italy, France, Holland, US and the UK.

The Meetovation is a Danish meeting design concept and its primary aim is to create a better ROI on meetings through four pillars: active involvement, creative set-up, local inspiration and responsible thinking. In my recent post I covered how to gain higher ROI on meetings by using the four principles and now I would like to give you some backstage from the training course. The training took place at the Bella Centre – connected to the beautiful Bella Sky Commonwell Hotel where we also stayed overnight. The Meetovation training provided very useful tricks and tips on how to create energy, increase participant interaction, gave methods to improve knowledge sharing and lastly to support networking.

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My room at the Bella Sky Comwell Hotel Copenhagen

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View from my room 

Own your meeting space – Design the Room

Have it ever happened to you that you were brought to a disordered meeting room? It never happened to me until the Meetovation. Arriving there at 9am in the morning and seeing this set-up brought a big question mark about what’s to come – but that meant only one thing – the training course has officially started! Our meeting facilitators Bo Krüger and Ann Hansen split us in three groups and each got a different task in regard to designing the room – functionality: to find space for presentations, group work and exercises. Inspiration – make it inspiring for learning, ideas and relaxation and lastly make a surprising and welcoming entrance.

That exercise was to demonstrate that participants can own their meeting space. By owning your meeting space you feel creative, inspired, it is more personal because it was made by you and not by ones who don’t know you. I never thought about it that way before and that is one of the biggest takeaways from the training. Not only you design the learning environment you want, but you also relate to each other within the first hour of the meeting.



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© The MICE Blog - event management blog


After the room was set, it was time to create a welcoming and guiding entrance – have a look at ours.

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Ice breakers and energy boosters

Ice breakers and easy exercises to kick off your meeting or use after lunch are ideal to use at every meeting. Here are few examples:

 1. Where are you from? – In addition to the traditional introduction of name, hometown, profession etc., add the questions how many years of experience participants have. After everyone presents it is interesting to see the total number of years of experience in the room! Our experience totalled to 197 years! Knowing how much experience everyone has can be used at other exercises as well, such as forming groups based on the number of years of experience.

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2. Ping Pong – is ideal for some physical movement, laughing and focus! In couples – decide who is ‘ping’ and who is ‘pong’ and start play back and forth for a minute or so. To go one level up, when the moderator claps the players to change – and the one that says ping is now pong. Lasts 2 – 4 minutes but great fun!*

3. Dilemma Method – This method is good for bringing everyone to participate in an important dilemma. It is used to kick-start a discussion and activates participants’ natural curiosity. The 10-15 minutes exercise fulfils three purposes: to gain new knowledge about each other, make everyone engage in the subject and makes everyone to go out to the floor. You start the exercise by finding a business dilemma, e.g. – what is the most important for making a successful change – the leaders or employees. You write it down on two pieces of paper and place them in two different locations in the room (one saying leaders and one employees) and ask the participants to place themselves to the statement they agree with the most. When they have placed themselves, interview the ones from the outer lines and from the middle and ask them why they have chosen this position. Eventually, ask them to speak to their neighbours*.

Have a meeting facilitator

Ice breakers, energisers and networking sessions sound easy, but the reality is that to make the most out of it you need a good meeting facilitator. Facilitation can be of course executed by the planner, CEO or one of the participants – but how about hiring a professional meeting facilitator. Our two facilitators Bo Krüger and Ann Hansen did such an amazing job and every exercise was perfectly coordinated and fulfilling for us – we learned and had so much fun!

Now you probably ask yourself – yes participants seem to have fun, BUT, how do we convince our clients with fixed mind set to be open to try new meeting design? What we – with 197 years of event experience asked our facilitators. Testimonials are very important – ask the participants if they liked it, if they learned more (learning from each other is more effective than from slides), what is their takeaway on the meeting etc. Secondly of course need to be clear on the investment – financial and HR, and professional meeting facilitators can definitely assist you with it.  I definitely can see the value in it.

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Our meeting facilitator Bo Krüger talks about making meeting more engaging – no more boring meetings

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Our meeting facilitator Ann Hansen moderates group activity 

Case study

Case study is a fantastic method for participants to implement their knowledge. We got a case to organise a strategy kick off meeting for HR managers from car accessories sector and plan an event around the purpose of the meeting: present the new HR strategy, develop on subjects such as internal communication, recruitment process, motivation of staff and individual development planning. Lastly to include social elements that help people to get to know each other better. In addition to that – the event needed to reinforce three company values: loyalty, excitement, and development. After the initial brainstorming session we got a kit from Ann – “meet in a box” that is to visualise our meeting concept. This kit included all major venues in Copenhagen, seating styles, catering, transportation etc. to possibly visualise the meeting to potential clients. Loved that concept!

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Welcome to Pimp-it-up HR kick-off!

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Values are integrated into the entrance and the first to be seen by attendees

I collected all tweets from the Meetovation attendees with more quotes from the seminar, have a look here.

My case study team

Looking at the case study brief, was just one of the examples how complicated event briefs become and how many aspects of the event need to be covered, and very often with tight budgets. That is why education and knowledge sharing with other event planners is becoming increasingly important in our industry. All such trainings and networking opportunities will provide planners with plenty of resources to turn to when necessary. A good meeting designer will have a tool box, which is beyond the traditional power point and will use each method to address meeting objectives of its clients. I can’t express enough how much I have enjoyed this training and how useful it was. I highly recommend keeping an eye on upcoming Meetovation training and applying. I was glad to discover that Copenhagen will host the EMEC congress in 2016 and I have pinned it already in my diary, as this will be for sure fantastic opportunity to refresh knowledge and resources! Leaving this training I felt most inspired than ever to make my events more fun, more educating, more memorable – but more important with higher ROI.

During the training we were also tweeting so you can see all live tweets with more quotes here.

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© The MICE Blog - event management blog

© The MICE Blog - event management blog

Happy in Copenhagen! 

*Reference – Meetovation training course handbook

What’s in it for me?

Our attendees are very busy and everyone is competing for their attention and money. Therefore, we have to put ourselves in their shoes and ask one simple question – what’s in it for me?

In the beginning of January I hosted #EventPlannersTalk about event storytelling and one of the examples that was mentioned by several participants over and over was TED talks. That’s a fantastic example how to integrate storytelling so that participants can remember core messages. I’m highly fascinated by the concept because TED charges premium ticket price but offers all the talks on YouTube for free. Following this chat I ordered the book “Free: the future of radical price” by the founder of TED Chris Anderson. More on this on another article.

Though, I kept thinking about examples within the events industry where we can easily implement storytelling and bring value to attendees, and remembered one of the activities we had back in Copenhagen during the MIND 2014 event – creative cocktail teambuilding activity at the Park Inn by Radisson.

Meetings are like a cocktail and all ingredients have to fit together to create a unique and memorable experience. After a brief introduction by our facilitator Bo Krüger, we were free to create our own cocktail following five very simple principles:


1. Find a name – The first step in the process is to find a good name. A name that will appeal to your target audience and convey the core message about the cocktail or the event.

2. What will you serve it in? – Think about the type of glass you’ll choose for serving your cocktail. Or think about the venue that will appeal to your audience to come to your event.

3. Participant involvement – How will you drink it? Will you drink it alone or as a team? How will you involve participants at your event? Will you provide some interactive networking session, a Twitter wall or other activities?


4. Great content – Is your cocktail going to be with or without alcohol? What beverages are you going to mix? Same is with great event content, think what are you going to provide to your attendees.


5. Local inspiration– How do you give your cocktail a local twist? How do you bring local inspiration into your event?Consider using local ingredients and suppliers for your cocktail and event.

As you’ll see on the photos, no cocktail was similar. All the teams came up with creative ideas so we could further learn from each other and get inspired. That’s just another example how Copenhagen Convention Bureau and their partners use storytelling to enhance attendees experience and increase ROI on meetings. Pure inspiration!

Have a look at our amazing creations:












Do you know about other examples how to integrate storytelling within events?



How to get higher ROI on meetings?

It was good to be back in Copenhagen and this time for two mind blowing events – MIND and Meetovation! After the #BeeSustain tweet tour back in October which was about sustainability and responsible thinking, that was time to discover the Danish meeting design with Wonderful Copenhagen Convention Bureau, Visit Denmark and all their partners who welcomed over 70 international meeting planners and media (including myself) in Copenhagen. The Meetovation is a Danish meeting design concept and its primary aim is to create a better ROI on meetings through four pillars: active involvement, creative set-up, local inspiration and responsible thinking. If you haven’t heard about MIND and Meetovation before don’t worry, it might be because MIND is (relatively) new, only in its fifth edition and the Meetovation training course in its second for international planners.

While the MIND event was about discovering Copenhagen as a meeting destination through the concept of Meetovation, the Meetovation training was about the actual theory behind it, teaching us techniques and methods, and how to implement them at our own events to increase ROI.

Return On Investment on Meetings

During my bachelor degree I spent over eight months on defining ROI of events. My bachelor thesis was on measuring ROI of Hosted Buyer Programmes for European MICE destinations using the case study of EIBTM. Over these eight months, I read and analysed lots of theory on the topic, on both financial and non-financial ROI, interviewed Convention Bureaux (though not Copenhagen), Reed Travel Exhibitions, ROI experts and Hosted Buyers and my results were less satisfying as expected, one of the reasons being that ROI doesn’t being measured at all by some. After identifying that, I had to find ways how to measure event ROI, how to narrow the gap between financial and non-financial ROI and find ways how to maximise it. Having this background on the topic of ROI, I was eager to learn and experience the concept of Meetovation.

As Bo Krüger, one of our event facilitators said “meetings are expensive, they cost us time and money… the return on meetings objectives is to make us money or save us money”. So how can we measure it? Don’t worry, I’m not going to bore you with 100 pages of bachelor thesis, but share with you really cool, innovative, inspiring and easy to remember techniques Visit Denmark has developed to position themselves as not only the greenest European Capital, but also a destination that is leading the way in business events. It took me eight month to research the topic, Copenhagen proved within five days how it actually works.

While in Copenhagen, I shared with you lots via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and now that’s time to tell you more about our activities, venues, education and networking sessions and latest trends in meetings design we have experienced while there. I will share with you some of our experiences that included the four elements of Meetovation – active involvement, creative setup, local inspiration and responsible thinking.

How to get higher ROI on meetings?

An example of a Meetovation itinerary in Copenhagen:

Active involvement

Involve and engage your participants by splitting them into groups to foster teambuilding, creativity and learning. Consider a cocktail teambuilding activity at the Park Inn by Radisson where the participants need to come up with a new drink concept – including drink’s name, design, how to how to drink it and so on.

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© The MICE Blog

Creative set-up

Don’t limit the event to one conference room, play with the space set-up and atmosphere and allow space for flexibility and collaboration or use different rooms throughout the event. You can foster creativity by conduction brainstorming sessions in rooms such as the “Brain Box” in Radisson Blu Falconer Hotel Copenhagen or allowing attendees to come up with their own room design as we’ve experienced at the Hotel Bella Sky Comwel.

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© The MICE Blog

Local inspiration

Share with the participants why the destination has been chosen by integrating the local culture into your event so that the expereince will be remembered both on professional and personal levels.  Two of the highlights were ‪‎MIND opening session in Tivoli Congress Centre where we celebrated the Danish Christmas with traditional food and traditions and visiting the Danes at their homes. I was touched by their friendliness and warm hospitality.

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© The MICE Blog

Responsible thinking

Organising meetings with responsible thinking in mind is good for the environment, the participants and your budget. See how you can give back to the local community by using local products or working with a local charity. Such an example is the Copenhagen Street Food where proceeds from the festival go to supporting the Thorshøjgaard farm. Each 5 DKK from every bottle of water sold at the Copenhagen Street Food will go to the foundation. In September this year the festival has donated 400,000 DKK to the foundation to help out to restore damage caused by adverse weather. Another element that you can integrate is a short revitalisation between the meetings to boost energy levels. One of the exercises we had at the Radisson Blu was very simple – to pass the tennis ball in groups of 3-4 without letting it fall. I didn’t expect it but was actually fun.

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© The MICE Blog

That’s all for now and see you soon for more event inspirations! Have a fabulous weekend!

#MIND14 – my social media diary

Greetings from Copenhagen!

I am here in the capital of sustainable meetings to attend two events, the MIND and Meetovation with Copenhagen Convention Bureau, Visit Denmark and over 70 international planners and press. If you have been following my feeds on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (#MIND14) you know already some of the activities, venues, talks and food we have experienced in the past three days but that is only a teaser as I have so much more to share with you in the next weeks.

The MIND event has just finished and I take this first opportunity to give you a short update from Copenhagen. The MIND Event – Meetings & Incentive Networking in Denmark is a yearly event for international planners to introduce the latest meeting trends, venues and meeting design the way it is done in Copenhagen, while focusing on achieving return on investment (ROI) from the event. The main sessions were around meetings set-up, interaction (e.g. – gamification as part of the meeting) and involving the five senses. But we also had original and interactive hotel viewings, cocktail class, out of the ordinary dinners, incorporation of sustainability, introduction to the Danish culture and lots of Danish food!

So here is my social media album (Facebook and Instagram) from the last three days but this time with more detailed comments!

“So good to be back in Copenhagen, this time for the #MIND14 event with Copenhagen CVB, Meet Denmark, international event planners and press. Over the three days I’ll be tweeting, instagramming and sharing with you the ‘Danish meetings design”. That was our first lunch at the Nimb restaurant in Tivoli Gardens, inspired by Danish cuisines with festive flavours.

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“Opening session #MIND14 in Copenhagen. About to experience the Danish Christmas food and traditions, all new to me”. The dinner took place at the Tivoli Congress Centre and my second time there (that moment when your wifi connects automatically). We were about to experience the traditional Danish Christmas with food, present exchange, songs and traditional games.

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“Good morning Copenhagen”. On the first night I stayed at the Scandic Palace, part of the Scandic group hotels. Last time in October I stayed at the Scandic Front and yesterday at the Scandic Copenhagen. I will summarise all my Scandic experiences in one article so watch out this space.

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“En route to Copenhagen Street Food”. There are different ways to commute in Copenhagen so this time we took the boat which is next to the Marriott hotel to the Copenhagen Street Food. This time it was a completely new experience, new food and new set up, as it would be for a private group.

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“Discovering unique venues in Copenhagen. Memorable dinner experience at the National Aquarium – informal, relaxing and educating”. Our dinner on the second night was at the Den Blå Planet, the National Aquarium which is open only since 1,5 years. During the day it is open to the public but can be privatised for groups for dinners and cocktails. We had a buffet style dinner with popular Danish specialties, followed by a short presentation about the unique fishes. I loved the informal and relaxing atmosphere there.

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“Some exercise between meetings. We’re having fun here”. Short and interactive sessions at the Radisson Blu Falkoner Hotel. In this particular task we had to work together to pass tennis balls from one side to another. Was great fun.

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“In the ‘brain box’, thinking out of the box and channelling my inner child”. Second interactive session at the Radisson Blu Falkoner Hotel. We were invited to experience the ‘brain box’ room with mixed furniture and walls you can write on in order to just brain storm in an informal way and incite your creativity.

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“Among many highlights of the #MIND14 event in Copenhagen, I can say that one of the most memorable experiences was visiting the Danes at their homes. I was touched by their friendliness, warm hospitality and impressed by their excellent taste in design!”. On the second day we were invited in groups of 10 to visit the Danes at their homes. That was a very unique experience and also very personal I am very grateful for.

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Hope you have enjoyed this small wrap-up and stay tuned for more updates, news and ideas how to make MIND Blowing events.

Food for Learning – Be Healthy, Be Happy and #BeeSustain

When I travelled to Copenhagen last month for the #BeeSustain Tweet Tour, little I knew about the vibrant Danish food scene. This year I started paying much more attention to the nutritional aspects of food as an integral part of event planning and this trip was just right to show how to integrate food into meetings and how to make meetings more productive. Not only had I really enjoyed my every single meal over the three days, I also learned about the “food for learning” concept designed by the Pharmakon Conference Centre.

Pharmakon Conference Centre

After our visit to the Thorshøjgaard farm, we continued to the Pharmakon Conference Centre in Hillerød for lunch and presentation. Pharmakon specialises in research, training and consulting for the pharmaceutical sector and runs the conference centre as one of their business units. This year they also have won the title “Denmark’s Healthiest Company 2014” because they highly support and facilitate the work life balance of their employees.

The conference facilities include 9 functional rooms, 1 conference hall and 135 guest rooms. The conference hall, the largest of all can accommodate up to 200 delegates in a theatre style.

The conference centre is surrounded by green yards, area suitable for recreation and teambuilding to incorporate into the meeting design.

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Food for Learning

Meetings and conferences can be sometimes very long and tedious and while the level of concentration is very high in the morning, it can drop down very quickly after lunch break. Food plays a major role in the success of our meetings, seminars or conferences and that has greatly to do with blood sugar controlling the concentration levels. To get the most out of the event, the blood sugar of participants must stay stable throughout the day.

The team at Conference Centre has developed the “food for learning concept” that ensures to keep participants blood sugar at a constant and stable level throughout the day. Food for learning includes healthy snacks, combined with various juices and together they have all the nutrition our body needs to keep the level of concentration high.

After the presentation it was our time for “food for learning”. We had a selection of delicious snacks, both sweet and savoury. I wish I could try all of them, by I just couldn’t eat so much, so went only for the mini rye loaves with dark chocolate, quince compote and pear elderberry juice. Yum.

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Mini rye loaves with dark chocolate, quince compote and pear elderberry juice

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Crisp bread, apricot-carrot puree and orange paired with redcurrant juice with ginger

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Full meal breadsticks with puree of baked root vegetables

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I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. What food do you think is the most suitable to keep attendees’ levels of concentration high during longs days of meetings and seminars?

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