Intention — The state of a person’s mind that directs his or her actions toward an objective.
When it came to writing this blog, my intention was to interview Kathy Meth, Multi Image Group’s Chief Strategy Officer, about the importance of crafting the perfect event opening experience. Kathy’s intention was to talk about what really drives a successful event experience — identifying its true intent from the beginning. The result: two intentions collided and unearthed what clients need to think through first – before coming up with the opening wow.
Cybelle: But opening wow moments are important, don’t you agree? After all, they set the tone and foreshadow the event experiences to come. I liken them to the opening sentences of a novel or the only reason we tune in to the Oscars anymore. We have to see Neil Patrick’s opening number.
Kathy: Sure, openings are fun to come up with but they’re not what makes or breaks a meeting or event. What does is when we do not truly know why we’re having the event to begin with. A lot of people tend to focus on coming up with the “wow” experiences first when what they really should be focusing on is the intended purpose, first because wow moments, objectives, messaging – that all flows from intention.
Cybelle: Can you give me an example?
Kathy: Suppose a client comes to you and says they want to hold a meeting to motivate their sales force. But their true intention is to connect their sales force with the company’s values. If you don’t understand their true intention from the beginning – the meeting will fly off the rails before you even get started, no matter how cool your opening moment is
Cybelle: Right. Because the kind of opening moment I’d craft would be totally different if the intention was motivation versus realigning attendees with the company’s mantra. So … why do you think so many people miss the boat on this?
Kathy: It’s not an easy or comfortable thing to do, in meetings and events, or in life, for that matter. Setting intention, at least according to Buddhist teachings, is quite different than goal making. It is not orientated toward a future outcome. Instead, it is a path or practice that is focused on how you are being in the present moment. You set intentions based on understanding what matters most to you and make a commitment to align your actions with your inner values.
Cybelle: It sounds a lot like peeling an onion. Sometimes it can take peeling back quite a few layers to get to the core truth of it all.
Kathy: Yes! It is a lot like that, but yet it’s so important. Because the closer you can get to the true intention of a meeting, the better (and more on target) you’ll be at crafting the story, delivering the right message, choosing the right presenters, the right tactics and wait for it … coming up with the perfect event opener.