3 Takeaways From the SISO CEO Summit

Another SISO CEO Summit has come and gone. With almost 200 CEOs and managing directors of for-profit companies meeting in Las Vegas, it was the largest ever. Something you may not know is that sponsors of the event are also required to send their top executives too. All in all, it’s a group of very smart, successful and—truthfully—funny people.

Three things SISO attendees have in common with all of our exhibitions and conference attendees:

1. They don’t read signage. Duh.
Takeaway: Have people around to direct attendees on where to go. Signage should be helpful but, for example, if the event lobby has 10 signs crowded into it, all them will be ignored. (Not that SISO did that!)

2. They crave relevant new content. These are busy folks. Bring in new speakers. Repurpose past speakers who received high remarks (in other words, have them cover new subjects).
No one wants boring. Embrace humor. One session involved videotaped interviews with attendees at five shows over the past few months. Only the interviewers were comedians. Still, the content was there. Messages came through (keep your registration process and mobile apps simple; people want to see new products and vendors; and appreciate good organization).
Also, hearing Sheldon Adelson was pretty special.
Takeaway: Have fun. Design your education and expos to be something YOU would want to attend. Are you bored? So are your attendees. Don’t be afraid to shake things up. Use humor in education. Why does everything have to be so serious? Yuk!

3. They love a great networking party. For example, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority hosted a party at Hyde, a nightclub inside the Bellagio Hotel. There were plenty of food stations, places to sit and eat, and the music was not so loud that everyone had to yell to be heard.
Takeaway: It’s impossible to eat, drink and talk at the same time without a table (and chairs). Make your room setup conductive to people circulating. If it’s not a concert event, keep the music at a reasonable level. It should be part of the ambiance.

Think about conferences and expos (not your own) that were memorable in a good way. What elements did they have that may be adapted for yours?

Full disclosure: Besides being a member of SISO, I’m also their community engagement ringleader, in other words, the voice of SISO on all social media.

Stephanie S. Selesnick is president of International Trade Information, a longtime global exhibition industry specialist helping U.S show organizers increase international participation in their exhibitions and a well-known speaker and trainer. Follow her on Twitter @stephselesnick.  ... View all articles by Stephanie Selesnick →