As event designers, there are certain assumptions we make around the optimal conference length, number of session options, location amenities and more. This is necessary; otherwise we’d just be reinventing the wheel at every event. But it does make sense to question everything on a regular basis. Because the truth is, we are often wrong. That’s not to say that everything you believe is wrong; it is to say that all our beliefs and practices are all based on stories we tell ourselves.
Our brains are hardwired to tell ourselves stories
Science backs this up. It’s leftover survival hardcode that at one time in human history helped save us from sinking into tarpits or becoming sabretooth tiger snacks. The stories we make up go something like this: “We’ve always done it this way. It’s what our guests like.” And, “Everyone I talked to said they had fun at the golf outing.” Or, “No one’s ever said anything about the meal options, session load, networking opportunities, etc., so they must be working.”
The problem is that stories are often anecdotal, or one-offs. We often only acknowledge observations that we want to believe, and hey, we may just be bringing our own bias to bear on things. It’s amazing how easy it is to believe that we know what everyone likes.
The stories, or myths, we tell ourselves can make our decisions, and lives, easier. They help us make sense of it all. It’s always been that way. Back in the BCs, thunder meant Zeus was angry.
Myths can kill
Sometimes a wrong answer is better than no answer in the human mind. This leads to an obvious challenge with myths—especially in the case of event design. They can also perpetuate outdated conventions and inspire us to make bad decisions based on bad information.
In the age of customer experience, being deaf to the customer and readily-available data is the death-knell of brands and events alike. In other words, in today’s world, myths kill. Look at Blockbuster. They betted it all on the myth that people love the experience of going to the video store for movies, and they were effectively Netflixed out of existence.
Are you hanging on to any myths that might be holding you and your events back from achieving new levels of success? Read more in our eBook on the 8 myths about event design, and learn to bust erroneous beliefs for breakthrough results.
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